The journey across Canada continues as the Amazing Race Canada heads further east to the Maritimes. It got a bit catty at times during this episode, but for some reason the politeness of the Canadians won out in the end. Then again, it made no difference anyway. More on that later.
There's no real drama at the start as the teams find out they must leave Iqaluit and fly to Halifax and find a car at the airport, which will be manual drive. The only things of note is Jody hoping to make things easier for him by leaving his backpack behind at the baggage drop-off in Ottawa. (Wonder if this will help or hinder them somehow later one? Hmmmm). And there's a bit of conservation between the Bicep Bros and the Sisters in Ottawa. Finally stepping up and playing the game (or maybe all their strategic moves were edited out), the Sisters ask Jet and Dave if they'll form an alliance of sorts. Everyone is well aware there is another U-turn and the girls want the boys to think about U-turning someone else. The Sisters believe that since they are considered the weakest of the four teams left, it would be smart for the other teams to U-turn someone else and have Vanessa and Celina as competitors in the final 3. Good thinking because in reality, they are one of the weakest teams out there (as long as the Brothers stay calm and don't over focus). So they are trying to prevent themselves from coming in last place. Jet and Dave think it's a good idea but make no promises. Jet and Dave also mess with the girls about how hard it is to drive a standard, which the girls can't do.
Really!? Sure, Celina was only 9 or so when the first season of Amazing Race aired but even if she had seen only one or two seasons, she should have known that sometime in the race, they would have to drive a standard. It's a given, it's a trope, it's a running gag, whatever ever metaphor you want to use for a recurrent theme. But no matter what version of Amazing Race you're on, sometime, somewhere, you're going to have to drive stick. And if you can't drive stick, that's the first thing you should learn when you find out you're going to be on the show. This is why they are the weakest team left.
Anyway, the teams arrive in Halifax and must find the Chevy on the roof of the airport. In that Chevy, there's a USB key which will give them their next clue on the video screen. Nice ad. But the Cory of the Brothers is back in a total intensity-blinders-on-go-go-go mode and squeals away before getting the information on where they're supposed to go. Maybe it's because he's not carrying anything, but Jody is a bit more laid back. He stops his brother before they start bombing around Halifax without a destination. This eagerness has hurt the boys before so it's good Jody got it under control.
The clue tells them to head to Pier 21, Canada's version of Ellis Island, the place where many immigrants, mostly European, first arrived to Canada. Everyone else gets their clue and the race is on. However, for the next 10 minutes or so, Amazing Race Canada is pre-empted by another of my favourite reality shows: Canada's Worst Driver. After they get the clue, the Brothers gunned it through the parkade, wheels squealing as they turn. Then they cut off the Timmies, who were also burning rubber around the place. The Timmie's also bicker about navigation and driving. The Bicep Bros move out normally.
But the Sisters are still stuck at the airport grinding away and burning out the clutch on the new Chevy provided by the sponsors. Note to Haligonians shopping for a new car: if you're offered a deal on a slightly used Chevy Sonic Five Speed Hatchback, I'd pass on the deal. Finally, Celina gets the vehicle going, hits the road only to stall out at light on a major road. I felt very sorry for the camera and sound operators at this point, stuck in a non-moving car in the middle of traffic, at night. One of those horns sounded like an 18 wheeler racing by. Hope they're getting paid overtime.
Despite the bad driving, the teams arrive at Pier 21 and yes, (raise your hand again, if you saw this....whatever) it is closed till the morning. But only technically. The teams are allowed in to sleep on the floor for the night. Which means all that speeding and cutting off was a waste of time. And Jet and Dave are bored so they start yapping and cracking jokes, much to the annoyance of Jody. "Their verbal diarrhea doesn't interest me," he says. However, it's interesting to a lot of Canadians because they are probably the fan favs now that Body Break are long gone.
But the Brothers get a nice moment when they talk about how their grandparents and father arrived in Canada through Pier 21. They even found info on the boat they arrived on. Very touching.
Once the museum opens, there's a filler passport stamping task and then the next clue: head to Mahone Bay and get a clue from across the church. Again, we're pre-empted by Canada's Worst Driver again. The Sisters grind and lurch away while the Brothers and Timmies race around, Cory trying to stop the Winnipeggers from following them. He even takes a wrong turn and starts going in the opposite direction to lose them. Again, too much intensity and not focusing on the important things. But the Timmies weren't really following: Tim Jr. couldn't find his map. But eventually he did.
Meanwhile, the Bicep Bros drive like humans (with giant arms, of course) and get to Mahone Bay first. Up next, it's a Roadblack. Apparently Mahone Bay has a thing for scarecrows. So the task is to find the scarecrow that matches the one on your Blackberry, bring it back to a gazebo and then make a twin of that scarecrow. Really? That was the task? Yes it was. ("Okay, Gord this one is for you cause since you're an artist, you have better visual memory than me. So dress that scarecrow.") Jet takes it on and heads the wrong way. This allows the Timmies and the Brothers to get there and start looking. Not surprisingly, Tim Jr. says what we were all thinking: "Any other circumstances and this would be kind of creepy."
Each of the three male teams find their scarecrows and started creating the twin. Jet and Tim Jr. have a bit of trouble but Cory has it easy. His scarecrow is a fisherman wearing a yellow rain slicker and pants, so he's done first. He gets the next clue, drive to Lunenburg and find the Fishery Museum. They're off. The girls are just arriving. Vanessa gets the scarecrow and joins the boys in the fun. Tim Jr. is taking his time and pissing off his old man. Tim Sr. wants him to move faster but his son wants to do it right. In not so many words, he tells his dad to get off. But without using profanity.
Jet is the opposite; he's just throwing stuff together, trying to get done fast. In a way, he's acting how the Brothers used to act. And it's not helping his team. So Tim Jr. gets it done right the first time and they're off to the Fishery Museum. Jet's still struggling while Vanessa moves forward. According to her sister, this is an ideal task for her because Vanessa has a big closest full of clothes. Methinks Jet also has a big closest full of clothes, but he still sucks at this one.
While all this is going on, the Brothers arrive in Lunenburg for their detour: Surf or Turf. In Surf, they have to jump aboard a lobster fishing boat, pull out six lobster traps, each containing one lobster. Get the lobster out, band its claws and then bring the lobsters back ashore to a chef. In Turf, they have to sample and memorize 12 types of sausages (the names are in German) and then ID those sausages at the pier down the stairs. That's my kind of task and perfect for me and Gord cause he's of German descent. Our only problem would be the penalty we received for eating all the sausages and thus preventing the other teams from doing the task.
The Brothers pick Surf and head out into the boat. Hilarity ensues (for us and the fishermen on the boat) as they pull in their first trap. The lobster (go figure) doesn't want to be banded and with one claw, hangs on for dear life to the trap. The boys try everything, even splashing the lobster in the face with water to get it to loosen its grip. I wonder if they know that lobsters live in the water and can swim? Their next brilliant idea is to turn around and pretend they don't care anymore. I think they may even whistled at this point or was that whishful thinking on my part (yes I meant to spell it that way). But it actually works and the lobster lets go. They boys get the six done, head back in, hand off the lobsters and get their clue: find another church, this one an Anglican one in a town seeming full of churches.
Back on land, the Timmies pick Turf although Tim Sr. is leery of his boy's ability to memorize (remember Robert Service? Neither did Tim Jr. ). Man, Tim Sr. was hard on his son today. But it's Tim Sr. who's a little worried because he was expecting to see the labels. He gets five and then Tim Jr. shows his dad that he should have faith in him and gets his six done like nothing. Dad falters for a moment but gets his last one. They're off to find the church. They even get ahead of the Brothers but go to the wrong church.
While this is all going on, Jet and then Vanessa get their scarecrows done. Although, I think Jet got off easy. His wasn't really twin so he should have been forced to do it right. He got off lucky. But they pick Surf and act like the big goofs they are on the boat. "I love lobster so this is my dream come true," says Dave. "I have other dreams," deadpans Jet. "Less fishy dreams." More hilarity ensues as the boys scream like a bodybuilding cheerleader as they try to handle the lobster for the first time. Then Jet shows off his spin class skills as he helps his teammate pull in nets. But they get done and head to the church.
The Sisters wisely take Turf. They have a bit of trouble, having to go back and remind themselves of the different sausages. But they get done pretty quickly. And are also heading to church.
And it's here at the church where all the drama could have unfolded. The Brothers arrive first, stand by the double U-turn. But they want to play a "clean race" and pass. I don't get the bit about a clean race: using a U-Turn isn't unclean or ruthless, it's just part of the race. Again, focusing on the wrong things instead of playing a good game. The Timmies, who had already U-turned Body Break, vacillate for a bit. Or maybe it was the editing. In the US race, the Timmies would have just passed this by because the rules state that teams are only allowed to use a U-turn once during a race. However, based on a comment on last week's blog from Producer Mark Lysakowski (that is you, isn't it Mark?), the Canadian version allows teams to U-turn more than once. So the Timmies could have U-Turned, could have again played a major role in the state of the race.
But they believed that the other teams were having trouble and didn't U-Turn anyone. Neither do the Bicep Bros. Nice polite Canadians. But it really didn't make a difference because of what happened at the end of the race. The next clue was a dime. And on that dime is a picture of a Lunenburg icon, the Bluenose 2. Teams were expected to decipher this and find the ship. The Brothers do and get to the mat first. They are the first team to arrive and are given a prize. But Jon doesn't call them Team #1, always a clue that something's up. And something is up. It's an extended leg, the race is still one. Jon hands over the next clue which tells the boys to grab a ferry to St. John's, Newfoundland.
I predict that despite where the teams "finished" in this episode, all teams will get to the ferry on time. I'd expect that this was planned that even if someone was Double U-Turned, they still would have made the ferry. So U-turing would have made no difference, except to annoy another team or two. But none of the teams knew this was an extended leg, so they should have played harder. I mean, they race like mad to forts and museums and airports only to find the places closed for the night or only one flight out that everyone will get on. But they hold back on a U-turn?
Nevertheless, in the US version, this is where the episode would end, with a To Be Cont'd plastered on the screen. But we get to see how the other teams react to this. Unfortunately, the Timmies have memory problems about the dime. "Is that a big deal here," Tim Jr. asked, looking at the Bluenose 2 on the dime. "One would guess," replies Tim Sr. They have to ask some locals the name of the ship, make it to the mat second but are sent off. The boys are keen to continue. Good for them.
The Bicep Boys understand the clue but run so fast to the mat that Dave almost takes out Jon and the greeter. And they head off to the ferry. And in last, the Sisters. They have huge trouble with the coin clue. "Maybe it's a money factory? A mint? Is there a wishing pond?" they say. Some locals finally help them and they arrive at the mat, last and thinking they are eliminated.
Jon does a great Phil impression and draws out the drama, but then breaks the news. Vanessa and Celina are stunned. So stunned that Jon has to snap them out of it. "You girls on still in the race. You better get going."
So next week, it's the same leg but in Newfoundland. No surprise, there's a Screech ceremony.
Wayne Arthurson is a huge Amazing Race fan, having watched all the US, Asian, Australian and Canadian versions of the show. He's also a dad, the author of the bestselling Leo Desroches crime series and other books available here, as well as a freelance and ghost writer. Plus, he's played drums in various bands.