Last week the first ever ARC episode ended in Kelowna. Ratings were awesome with 3 million Canadians watching. That's up there with the Corner Gas series finale, which bodes well for future seasons. For EP. 2, they headed to the urban jungle of Vancouver. Or as Jon says, "Canada's supermodel city" or something like that. Jeez, who writes these things? Amazing Race Australia visited Vancouver in Season 2 so I was keen to see what they would do. Would they steal the tasks from that show? Or come up with their own?
Anyway, the race continued with some drama at the airport. Only three teams, the Hippies, the Docs, and the Bicep Bros made it in time for the first flight out. Although Body Break showed they are regular watchers of the US show and managed to book themselves on stand-by. Nice to see some of Hal's personality as he kind-of flirted with the ticket agent. "Is your heart pounding? Mine is," he said, with his wife standing right next to him. Reminded me of my buddy Gord, who flirts with everyone.
Hal's move leaves behind the Sisters, who are stuck on the next flight with their nemesis team, the Timmies, and the Brothers. Pulling up the rear, sadly, are the Gay Cowboys. And things don't look to good for them for two reasons.
The first, they stopped at a bank machine on the way to the airport. Big mistake, boys. Always Move Forward, is a key TAR mantra, especially when you have to get to the airport. Sure, in some countries you might not find a bank machine at an airport or you need to buy your tickets from an agent instead of at the airport, but this Canada. There are plenty of bank machines at the airport so there was no need for them to stop. It was a game killer for them, putting them all alone on a third flight, hours behind the first teams. Second, is the producers added some background about Pierre losing his partner and trying to deal with the grief. Very sad and touching. However, in the Amazing Race world, whenever they feature some background information about a team, especially in an early episode, that's usually a sign that this is the team that will be eliminated.
So in Vancouver, we get an ad for Air Canada as teams have to go to the Maple Leaf lounge, a place most of us peons never visit, in order to get their next clue. The Docs play a smart game but heck it's just looking on a map so I don't know why the other teams didn't do this. Even so, I'm beginning to like the Docs; they know what they are doing and they really can handle pressure.
The first task is a Roadblock and you gotta skate around an speed skating oval in less than 90 seconds. A lame task because it's short track speed skating and all the teams are Canadians! Even though the skates are different and spandex is tight, most Canadians probably know how to skate. And even those teams that say they don't, like the Docs, get done pretty quickly. They should have stole the Roadblock from the Australians which was to stand on top of one of the Grouse Mountain Gondolas (yes on the outside) and grab some flags as they pass. Miss a flag, ride the Gondola down and start over from the bottom. That would have been fun, especially for those teams who are afraid of heights. But I guess they did the height thing already.
But the Canadians had the onerous task of skating and all teams are done pretty quickly with little drama. Although the Hippies read the map wrong and get lost. Darren also freaks out on Kristen after the task. Man, not a good sign for them. Everything's all positive for them if things go their way but one small mistake of getting off at the wrong spot and he's freaking out. The task also provides the best line of the Episode. Cory complains about it being hard to walk on the skates but his brother puts things into perspective by saying "I might have an idea of how much it hurts to walk."
The next task, the first ever Amazing Race Canada Detour, almost makes up for the lame skating Roadblock. They either have to draw or dance. In Draw, each team member has to drink a cup of tea and look a Chinese character on the bottom of their saucer. Then from memory, they have draw that character using a brush and rice paper. The second task is the get a list of store names, all in Mandarin, and then find those stores in Chinatown where they will pick up pieces of a costume for a dance. Then they have to learn and do that dance. I know my buddy Gord would have pick draw because he's an artist, but I can't draw worth a crap and my visual memory really sucks. So we'd probably be fighting over that one. Unless he promised to help me remember my symbol.
The Docs pick draw and using their memory skills, finish pretty quickly. Body Break and the Brothers also do pretty good. After one misstep, the Sisters finish up on the draw side. The Hippies unfortunately get hit by one thing you can't control in TAR, a bad cab. They get dumped in the wrong spot and have to get another cab to make up for it. And though they get lost a bit while finding their costume, they get it done and move on. However, the Timmies, the Bicep Bros and much later on, the Gay Cowboys, all switch detours. Never a good thing to do in TAR but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. Don't know why the Timmies and the Bicep Bros switched. That side of the task seemed a bit easier. Sure, the symbols were in Mandarin but they weren't in China. I'm sure there had to be someone around Vancouver's Chinatown who spoke English and Mandarin, and could have helped them. Can't believe the Bicep Bros were walking about for three hours looking.
The final task of the day was to head to the docks and climb a crane and look for the next pitstop. Not much of a task, more of a filler. Would have been cool if they had to jump from the crane after finding the pitstop. Or maybe operate the crane to load one container before looking for the pitstop. Or something. Anything. Just looking didn't seem that big a deal, especially when it seemed most teams got it done pretty fast. Especially the Brothers. But as Jodi said, he was an ex-sniper, so this was his kind of thing. I wondered if he could shoot that far. And the Hippies got hit with another bad cab (sure is not their day) and had to walk a long ways to the dock.
Not surprisingly, the Docs come in first, winning a really cool prize of a flight to anyplace in Asia. I'm really liking these guys because they seem to be TAR watchers and know how to play the game. Same with Body Break, who come in second. The rest of the teams come in, the Hippies in fourth, not doing as bad considering what happened. They gotta watch out for losing their cool, especially Darren, when things go wrong. Interesting to see the Sisters coming in one place ahead of the Timmies again. That's gotta bug the boys cause they were ahead of them coming out of the airport.
But sadly, and not entirely unexpected, the Gay Cowboys come in last. They had some minor hiccups on the Detour, but coming in last was entirely their own fault. Hard to make up all that time lost by getting on the third flight. If they would have kept moving forward instead of dawdling at the ATM before heading to the airport, it would have been a completely different scenario. They would have easily beat the Bicep Bros. Maybe even the Timmies. I would have liked to have seen them in Calgary dealing with some of the cowboy stuff. And that's where the teams are heading, my old stomping grounds, good ole Cowtown. Looks like they'll be line dancing (big surprise there, not).
Overall, it wasn't a bad Ep. 2, not as exciting as Ep. 1, but with enough drama to move things forward. Some of the teams are coming into their own while others are still kind of dull. Montgomery is still a bit wooden but he's harmless. I do hope thought that things start picking up for the rest of the season and that this episode isn't typical of what's to come.
See ya in Calgary.