Everything starts in Quebec City, on the boardwalk (where my mom and dad met back in the old days) right next to the Chateau Frontenac. Gorgeous place to start. The teams come out and are described by Jon. I won't go into details with the description because if you've read earlier blog posts you know them already. Some teams look tough, some teams look cute, some teams look like they're already sweaty. But all are raring to go. Jon Montgomery does a great job delivering his lines, talking up the prizes and reminding everyone to read the clues carefully. No shit, Sherlock. You wanna win the race, you gotta read the clues.
And they're off, running to their backpacks to get the first clue: head to Quay 22. And remember how to pronounce that word. Quay, not 22. No biggie, I'm not from a landlocked province so when I first saw the word, I didn't know how to pronounce it. At the Quay, it's the RNC Cops. Each team gets a code and then must search a sea of bikes to find the correct lock to open a couple of bikes. After you do, you must ride to the ferry and take a trip over to Levis, which if anyone remembers was the opposite direction that they took in Season 1. Once at Levis, find one of the Fords and the ones with the lowest numbers will get on the first flight to Toronto.
The RNC Cops start searching as other teams arrive. Soon the Italian Bros get their lock open and jump on the ferry. The Designer Guys get lucky and open their first lock. Unfortunately, the first ferry is gone. It's a 30 minute wait I seem to recall, not sure if that's right but I'm going to stick with it. As they get onto their ferry, Sean starts blowing chunks in the men's room. And it's not due to seasickness, he's just overly excited. And why not? HE'S ON THE AMAZING RACE! I'd be out of my gourd at the start of the race if I was on it. Although I'd probably throw up before the race rather than during.
Overall, the lock task really has no skill; it's all up to luck. But you have to find the quay first and it seems the Cute Couple (Nic and Sabrina) are lost. Only a few minutes into the show and they already have their own goofy music. Are they this season's Sukhi and Jinder? But in the end, all this doesn't matter because in Toronto, teams must find the St. Lawrence Market. And the market doesn't open till 8 am. Those teams that got lucky and/or found their way faster, lose their lead. That's gotta suck. Oh well, that's just part of the race. Still gotta run like that's not going to happen. Lucky for the teams on the last flight.
Next morning, a few teams are there at 8 am for the opening, while other teams come later. Not sure if that was bad timing or they had to wait because of something with the later plane, but if Gord and I were on the race and something was opening at 8 am, we'd be there at 7 am. Or maybe 7:30. No way we'd be late.
It's a word scramble to find the intersection of Centre Street and Market Street in the market. Some teams hang outside the market, other teams (the more smarter ones?) go inside to find words that may match. Max thinks it's got something to do with dessert although Elias keeps reminder her there is no D in the word scramble. My notes are sketchy on who figured it out first, the Italian Bros, I think. My kid and her friend were shooting a movie in the house and there was a very loud action scene at this point of my watching. Anyway, the clue is to head to TSN which I thought almost everyone would know. But obviously the Designer Guys don't watch a lot of sports and have no idea what the acronym means. So they get lost.
At TSN, it's a Roadblock: Who's Feeling Sporty? Seems like an obvious task, you're at TSN, you're probably going to have to do the sports. And yep, you have to do a segment with whathisname Duffy. Good thing TAR Canada is on CTV and not CBC. Imagine if you had to do a Coach's Corner with Don Cherry? Shudder! Jesse (he's the one with the shorter hair, right?) takes it on and he's like a deer in the headlights. Susan from the Prison Guard team jumps in and she's no better. Especially since her greatest fear is public speaking. This task could have gone either way for Gord and I. We've both could have done it, maybe not the first or second try but possibly the third.
The first several bits of this section are quite funny, especially Brian with his terrible tie and collar job. This guy used to be in the military? He'd be severely dressed down for that. Hilarious to see his wifeCynthia laughing at his ineptituteness. Is that a word? Don't care, gonna make it one. Soon all the teams arrive and are lined up to do their TV bit. Kind of feel sorry for Duffy after awhile and the crew. This must be painful to watch.
Meanwhile, Brent and Sean are lost. Stuck in a bad cab, or given bad directions or not knowing what TSN stands for. They get a little pissy with the cabbie. But they finally make it and jump into the sportscentre. Jesse is done first but Nic is the impressive one, figuring out that you don't have to look at the camera when the B-roll is playing. He does the sports like a champ. And you'd figure Neil Lumsden would nail this because of his experience but sports figures have different names from when he was around.
First teams outta there are both Italian teams, heading off to Ontario Place for the next Roadblock, also Who's Feeling Sporty. But this task is more physical. You have to climb across a canal on a cargo net, then jump three stories into the water, then cross a rolling log. First two are relatively easy although the log would be tough. Gino, however, blows through while Sabrina struggles. She's not in the greatest shape and she's afraid of water. Okay, maybe not the next Sukhi and Jinder but possibly Brent and Holly? Cue the goofy music. But like Brent and Holly, Nic is very supportive of his partner. He's not on her case to get it done, calling her names, talking about her behind his back like many US racers do. He cheers her on.
And she easily does the log by crawling across instead of running. I didn't think and neither do many of the other teams, so good on her. It wasn't pretty but she got it done. And when they hit the mat at Centre Court in Air Canada Centre, they are in second. The other Italian team of Gino and Jesse were in first, winning a trip for two to Rio, plus 2.5 million Petro Points. No Express Pass? Maybe it will come later.
Back at the water, teams that finished the sports are working on the water. Ope from Team Surrey can't swim. Everyone who knows the race at all knows that if you're cast, you should have two basic skills: how to swim and how to drive stick. I hope one of them can drive stick. And while he hesitates for a bit, he jumps in. Of course he would; he gave up his life in Nigeria to make a better one for his family in Canada, this jump was nothing compared to that.
There's more, including some hard falls by Cynthia on the log but the final drama comes down to the final two teams. The Prison Guards and Team Malias are still in the studio, struggling. Susan gets done and they race away. Elias reveals that he has dyslexia and the words are starting to flip. Oh man, that sucks. Must be very frustrating for both of them. But he's no quitter and despite his difficulty in reading, he finally nails on the 23rd(?) try and gets the clue. Race to the water task where Sharnjit is still in sight. Max is on the ropes chasing her and they both jump into cabs for the mat. Some might think it's the editing to make it look close but I think it was closer than most think. It does though make for an exciting finish. Unfortunately, Team Malias are out, eliminated first, and in their hometown as well. No doubt many fans are surprised by this because they did seem to be a physical team. I'm pretty sure a lot of fans didn't pick these guys in the eliminated first pool. But the race is not always physical, one has to remember. Not a way you want a team to go, because of someone's dyslexia, but that's the way it happens. You never know what you'll come up against during the race.
All in all, a very promising start to Season 3. Lots of drama, some great characters out there, but at the same time, not a lot of time seeing other teams. I forgot that a couple of teams existed when I saw them arrive on the mat. But that's how the first few episodes play out; lots of team running so it's hard to get a sense of who's who in less than 60 minutes. Hard for the producers to fit them all in while creating drama. The Italian Bros look like the team to beat but again, it's only episode 1.
Next episode, teams head to South America (Ha! Told ya, Gord!) where it seems there will be dancing. And fighting Exes (like we didn't see that come). And there are the Express Passes. Thanks for reading. Look for Gord's post on his section of this blog. Also look for your video recap later this week plus our interview with Max and Elias.