We're in Episode 8 and after a few legs crossing Canada, we're leaving the Great White North. Not only that, we're heading the farthest away Amazing Race Canada has ever been, on the other side of the world to Kolkata, India. There's much fan discussion about the race leaving the confines of our wonderful country. Season 1 stayed within the borders and it was pretty solid. Some folks want it to stay that way. The argument being that Canada is a huge country and there is a lot of beauty and fun inside our borders to showcase on the race. Another argument is that other versions of the race travel the globe and it's now time for the Canadian version to step up, start and end the race in Canada, but for majority of the legs, zip around the world. For me, I like the format as it is. See bits of Canada with a few international legs in between, the classic Canadian compromise. The fact that Air Canada is a major sponsor no doubt plays a role in how the game is structured; hard to circle the globe like other versions because Air Canada international flights are pretty much round trips to and from Canada. But as Canadians, we also do adapt things to suit our own needs and I think this is one of them. I know we need to stretch outside the borders but if we just following the format of the other versions, then we pretty much become no different than the other versions.
Anyway, as I said, teams leave the relatively calm city of Saskatoon and flying to the other side of the world, via Tokyo to Kolkata. Thanks a long flight, done the one to Tokyo (on the way to someplace else) and the jet lag was a pain in the ass. But it's a bit less of a pain for Brent and Sean. As the winners of the last leg, they get to fly Business Class. Also, they get to pick a team to join them. Not surprisingly, they pick the Dancers. They say it's because they helped them in the equestrian task but I'm also thinking it's also because Leilani is also originally from the Maritimes. Other teams don't seem so surprised either.
So it's about 50 C as teams hit the tarmac in India and they have to find a flower market to get a blessing. Crazy cab rides for all and no doubt there's an overload of the senses. After the blessing, teams must pick a flower stall and then create a garland of flowers based on an example before moving on. Brent has a big green thumb so they figure out the task pretty quick and have to catch a ferry to the next roadblock. Most teams move through the garland task relatively easily save for a couple who don't see that there are six flowers on one side and seven on the other.
Brent and Sean are praying the ferry leaves the other teams behind but luck isn't with them. Slowly, more teams get on and when it leaves, the only teams left behind are Brian and Cynthia, and Dujean and Leilani. Some nice shots of the ferry ride and it's obvious from the looks on many racers faces that they are in a awe of India. No doubt the heat is killing them but they are enjoying being in one of the most colourful and chaotic countries in the world. Once the ferry reaches the proper spot, it's a Roadblock: Who wants to meet their Idol? I've already met a couple of my idols but this isn't one of those moments. One has to find the right stall in the pottery section of town and then based on the photo in their clue, find the idol that matches theirs in a large group of seemingly identical ones.
Gino and Jesse find a local who can show them the way but are annoyed that Simi and Ope have latched onto them and follow. Annoying for sure, but heck part of the game. Smart move by the father and daughter team. The boys get done pretty quickly as does Simi who stepped up for her team. They have to find the shrine to the swami who is credited for bringing yoga to the Western world. Off they go, searching for cabs to whisk them away. Although the Italian Boys have a bit more trouble finding a cab. A harbinger of things to come?
Back at the idols, Sean takes on the task. And since he's a design student, you'd think he's got strong visual skills to find what he is looking for. But nope. He struggles while other teams come up, find their idol and move on. Even when the two final teams finally get to the ferry and arrive, he is still struggling. I really enjoyed Brian's work at that task. Was he really hoping that if he told her enough times they were all the same that she would cave and give him the clue so he didn't really have to do that task? (Spoiler alert: If you want the real answer to that question, check out our interview with them later on this week.)
But once Brian decides to do the task, he finds his idol and moves on, leaving Sean the last one at the task. I know Gord, the graphic designer, is going to take Sean to task for sucking on such a visual task.
Meanwhile, teams struggle with cabs but finally arrive at the swami shrine. The next clue is a Detour: Tuck or Roll. In Tuck, teams have complete a series of couple yoga moves. In Roll, teams have to make a couple of deliveries through the chaotic streets using a rickshaw. Most teams, save for the Dancers and the Designer Guys (once Sean finally gets his idol task done), take Roll. The Wrestlers are the first ones to arrive at the rickshaw place, but right behind them are their nemesis team, Gino and Jesse. And though the Nick and Matt are out first because they spotted the first delivery spot on the way in, the Italian Boys follow right behind. Interesting how it's now okay for teams to follow another one, eh Gino and Jesse?
Much to the chagrin of the Wrestlers, Gino and Jesse pass them on the way back, and move to the front of the pack. At the yoga studio, the two teams are moving through the postures. The dancing background of Dujean and Leilani does help. And even though they are exes, they are working well together. I'm really glad of how teams are edited this year. Sure, each one has their specific identities at the beginning of the race, and sure these identities were used in previous episodes. But I really like how the producers realize that people can't always fit into the same categories time and time again. Good to see the various aspects of people's personalities and relationship dynamics being playing out instead of rehashing things we've already seen.
Also, host Jon Montgomery is really killing it this year. You can tell he's more relaxed in the role so he's allowing more of his personality is coming out. Because of that, Jon is now a much better host than original host Phil Keoghan. Phil is still solid but the fact he's had training as a TV host, shows. Phil is always professional but Jon's got more of a ebullient personality and he's really letting it shine through.
Back to the yoga, Brent and Sean are discovering that yoga ain't as easy as they first thought it was. Doing yoga correctly as a solo act is tough enough, holding some of those poses is very tough. But then adding another person to the mix makes it even more difficult, especially if those people aren't that coordinated. The Designer Bros struggle, Sean gets dropped on the back of his head and starts to feel frustrated. Heat, jetlag will do that to you. The Dancers mover through very quickly, although it's good they are Exes cause some of Dujean's comments about his race partner would get him in trouble if they were still an item.
Speaking of frustration, it's all over the place in this leg. First, the Italian Boys start snipping at each other. Then they finish the Roll task ahead of the Wrestlers annoying the crap out of them. But then Gino and Jesse can't find a cab to save their lives. The frustration for the Wrestlers continues because even though they are in first place heading to the National Library pitstop (that's three library locations this season! Hurray!), their cabbie drops them off at the wrong entrance or something. And this allows The Dancers to pull in front and arrive at the pitstop in first place. I love how the Dancers are so shocked that they were in first place, even though Jon kept telling them. Yep, Jon don't lie. Unfortunately for the Wrestlers, they are second, which as noted, frustrates the heck out of them. Don't worry boys, finishing first during the race only counts at the end. And no doubt, your presence on the race is helping your wrestling career. There are many ways to win on Amazing Race Canada without actually winning on Amazing Race Canada.
Brent and Sean finish yoga and then there's a race to the mat between them and Simi and Ope with the boys come ahead of the Father and Daughter team. Though, both of these teams are surprised that they are third and fourth; they all thought they were the last two teams. Which says something about the design of the leg. If teams have no idea of their standing as they run to the mat, that's a good thing.
Back to frustration, Gino and Jesse still can't find a cab while Brian and Cynthia are also having cab problems, having delivery problems and then more cab problems. They start to argue because Brian wants to go one way and Cynthia thinks it's wise to sit and wait where they are. I know some watchers were tough on Brian because he was getting snippy ,but heck, these kinds of arguments happy all the time when couples are travelling. Add the heat, the jetlag and the craziness of the race and you got more pressure. It seems that Cynthia understands the frustration and allows them to move on. But only emotionally and in their relationship. Gino and Jesse finally get a cab and arrive second last to the mat. They are not pleased but this is not the first time this has happened. They might have three wins under their belt but it's up in the air who's gonna win this one. In the end, the Cops from Winnipeg, Brian and Cynthia are out. This was not a non-elim leg as many, including me, were predicting. So far we haven't had an official non-elim yet so even us viewers are guessing where things stand.
Next week, the five teams left head to Delhi, which is even a much larger city than Kolkata, as much as 8 million more people. So even more chaos is on hand. Look for our interview with Brian and Cynthia later on. And since Gord is back, we'll be doing our vid recap, but a day or so later.