Despite the big prizes and the millions of viewers, The Amazing Race Canada is, at its core, a game. There are rules, strategies, moments for great gameplay. And even though folks may turn on each other (Or U-turn), teams shouldn't take it personally. So far the game has been played pretty well by most teams, even those like Body Break who were eliminated last week.
But one thing that some folks forget is that you're also supposed to have fun when playing a game. Sure you wanna win or last as long as possible, but what's the point of playing a game if you're not having fun? And the only team that seems to get that are Jet and Dave, The Bicep Bros. Or shall I now call them Les Champignons. They are on a roll, scoring a hat trick with their third leg win in a row. They are now my favourite team and not just because they have won the most legs. I like them because they are doing Amazing Race Canada the way my buddy Gord and I would, playing well but cracking jokes, acting silly and razzing one another when the other makes a mistake. It's probably no coincidence that once the Biceps Bros starting having fun, they starting winning.
This episode started typically, with teams back in Regina, scrambling for flights to Quebec City where they have to find a clue in a fort. Some teams switch planes in order to get in a bit earlier, but not surprisingly (raise your hand if you say this coming a mile away), the fort is closed. Teams must hunker down for the night. The only fun bit in this scramble is when Dave mangles the French language, uttering one of the best lines in Amazing Race history: "We are the mushrooms."
Since the Bicep Bros arrive first, they get a little bored and decide to leave a fake clue hastily draw in some sand. "No harm can come from this," Jet says. But the Brothers rush into the fort, find the fake clue and rush out again, into the night. After a bit, the Bicep Bros go after Jody and Cory, telling them it was only a joke. But the Brothers don't seem to see the humour. While I love Jody and Cory and their never-quit attitude, they're always so serious, so single-minded. And at times, it works against them.
So the fort opens and the teams dash about. The Bicep Bros find the clue first, telling them to catch the ferry, head up the funicular and find the statue of Champlain, the father of New France. The other teams do the same, leaving the Timmies (sporting some nice scraggly playoff beards) to clamber about in a panic. There's a bit of a race to the ferry and only the Biceps Bros and the Sisters get there in time. The Docs and the Brothers miss and have to wait a half hour. This allows the Timmies to catch up. I was in Quebec recently for a crime writers festival and my kid and I took great pleasure watching teams take the same ferry and funicular we had taken.
Back to the race, the clue at the statue announces a Detour: Sculpt It or Spot It. In Sculpt It, they have to create an ice sculpture. In Spot It, they have to place word magnets on a smaller reproduction of wall mural to indicat sections missing from the original. In another classic line, Jet asks "Is there a third option?" The sculpting sounds more difficult, but the sculptures have been pre-cut and you only have to chip out the outside bits. In Spot It, the word magnets are in French.
Jet and Dave choose Sculpt while the Sisters initially take Spot It. But they instantly switch once they see how easy Sculpt It is. However, they whine all the while, constantly second-guessing their choice. As the Bicep Bros said earlier, the Sisters may be a great team, but they are lousy competitors. The other teams arrive on the ferry with only the Timmies taking on the ice. The Docs and Brothers go back and forth between the smaller and bigger mural, both having difficulty even though they are the teams most fluent in French.
Again, Les Champignons, I mean the Biceps Bros, finish first and need to find Quebec University or something like that, my notes are unclear. Anyway, they get there and have to make four different crepes in the style shown by the demo chef. Again, language plays a key part because the orders for the crepes will be given in French. Because he can cook, Dave takes it on. But he admittedly says he's never cooked a crepe in his life. And his knowledge of French sucks.
Back in Old Quebec, teams are finishing up their tasks and head to the University. Although the Timmies get confusing directions and spend an hour trying to find the location. The other three teams arrive, putting some pressure on Dave to hurry up. But Dave's still lost in translation; he can't understand what one lady is ordering. He makes an extremely lucky guess with spinach and starts cooking. However, he forgets to turn on the crepe maker, prompting some razing from his partner, which is what a good partner should do at a time like this, right Gord? Jet even takes a potshot at the Brothers, wondering why Cory and Jody haven't finished higher.
Part of the reason is that the Brothers are so single-minded that they forget to read clues, forget to pay attention to the details. It happened to them in Yellowknife when they signed up on the wrong flight. And it happened on this leg when Cory was so determined to get the task done that he didn't realize he had to serve all 4 crepes at once instead of 2 at a time. That's why Holly, a terrible cook, managed to finish the task before Cory, who obviously knew how to cook a crepe. If Cory had paid attention, they would have easily take 2nd place instead of ending up in a tie with the Docs.
But the big mistake of the race came from Tim Jr. Although it was a classic Amazing Race blunder. Vanessa was having difficulty understanding what fruit she was supposed use so she walked up to Tim Jr. and asked him. "Cherry," was all he said. But that single word undermined that great U-Turn they made on Body Break in the last episode. It allowed Vanessa to finish the task before them and the boys ended up in last place.
Still, the luck of the playoff beards paid off because this was the second of three non-elimination legs; the Timmies were saved. Again. If I were them, I wouldn't push that luck anymore. Next week, yhey'll be off to Nunavut and need to do a Speed Bump in the next leg. Although I wonder if it will before or after they have to eat whale blubber. Yumm.
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.