Just to get everyone up to speed before we get going here's a quick recap of this season's ten teams:
Joel Ground (42) & Ashley Callingbull (26), the father/daughter team from the Enoch Cree Nation just west of Edmonton
Anthony Limbombe (21) & Brandon Campeau (21), who've been best friends for a whole year (yes, I think that's funny) and are this season's youngest competitors, from Windsor
Steph Eclair (27) & Kristen McKenzie (25), a dating couple and former varsity softball athletes, from Toronto
Rita & Yvette Yakibonge (23), twin sisters who were born in Montreal but are now lucky enough to be from Edmonton
Stéphane (51) & Antoine Tétreault (25), the father/son team with the oldest competitor, from Montreal
Julie (33) & Lowell Taylor (34), the married couple, one of whom is legally blind, from Lethbridge
Anne Morrone (40) & Tanya Muzzatti (40), who've been best friends for 35 years and are both single "Supermoms", from Toronto
Kelly Xu (25) & Kate Pan (25), best friends, business partners and the first female Asian team to compete in TARC, from Toronto
Frankie (41) & Amy Gassler (25), the mother/daughter hairstylists, from Aldergrove
Jillian MacLaughlin (30) & Emmett Blois (28), the BBCan Exes and winner (Jillian), from Nova Scotia
Now that we're all up to date on the teams let's hope we can remember who's who as we start off with tonight's episode, which production has titled "Who's Ready To Let It All Hang Out". Based on the preview teaser this looks like a job for SuperWayne, but let's wait until we get to that point before we pass judgement.
We begin the episode in Yellowknife, 400 kms south of the Arctic Circle, where we find all ten teams making their way across Great Slave Lake by ATV to reach the starting line. This is a great time for team introductions where we finally get to see how the teams look on film rather than on paper and how they interact with one another. All of the teams look pretty competitive this season so it should be a good one.
As all teams arrive at the starting line Jon welcomes everyone to the race. He gives his opening spiel, tells everyone what they can win, including their choice of vehicle from all the Chevrolets they'll drive this season and the $250,000.00 and then . . . Go! . . . Jon releases the hounds and they're off to grab their first clue off of their packs.
Frankie & Amy are the first ones to open their clue, and all teams must now make their way to the Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories where they'll need to correctly translate a Weledeh phrase (one of the eleven languages spoken in the NT) to send them on their way to their next clue. Finding the initial sign is easy but they need to memorize it and then head into the forest to find the three words among hundreds of translation plaques. Once they successfully make the translation they'll receive their next clue and their BMO CashBack MasterCard to use during the race.
Jillian & Emmett get two of the plaques and totally guess the third and are the first team to get the clue. All teams will now be heading to Jasper, Alberta which is a place I know and love and have spent many vacations in. First they'll need to drive their 2016 Chevy Silverado to the Yellowknife Airport to catch one of two flights and the first four teams to arrive will be on the first flight. I'm not sure if that's going to be Jillian & Emmett though because they have no idea where the airport is as they head out of the parking lot.
One after another the remaining teams make the translation and receive the clue and its Anne & Tanya sliding into second position as they drive off. Jillian hasn't changed much in how she talks to Emmett but by now he must be used to it as she redirects him to the airport, but it's Stéphane & Antoine who are the first ones on the flight. Anne & Tanya maintain second place while Joel & Ashley move into third. As for Jillian & Emmett . . . they're going to need to step it up to get in there ahead of Julie & Lowell and this is not the time for Emmett to show how relaxed he is. It's a foot race to the counter and . . . they made it, they beat the blind guy, . . . barely.
All teams will be flying to Edmonton and then boarding buses to Jasper. Why they don't just let the teams drive there I don't know but once there they'll need to locate the Jasper Train Station and their 2016 Chevy Colorados which they'll use for the rest of this leg. Any team who can't locate the Jasper Train Station should probably just give up now.
As the first four teams locate their Colorados they also find their first Roadblock and the official title of this episode. One team member will ride the Jasper SkyTram up Whistler's Mountain and once they're above the treeline the tram will stop and they'll have to climb out and under the Jasper SkyTram to reach their next clue. I'm not really afraid of heights, despite what Wayne tells you, but he definitely has more upper body strength as a drummer than I do as an art guy so this would definitely be a job for SuperWayne.
However, Wayne and I are not running this race so it's Stéphane, at 51 years old and with a serious fear of heights, who's the first one to decide he's doing it. Better luck next time Wayne. Emmett also decides to do it, as does Anne and Ashley.
The long and winding road that leads to the Jasper SkyTram (damn ear worms) finds the first three teams lining up while Anne & Tanya appear to have missed the turn. Enjoy the Columbia Ice Fields girls.
The other teams have arrived in Jasper and Steph decides to do the Roadblock, as does Amy, and Lowell, and Kelly, and Rita, and Brandon. While they all head to the tram the first three teams are heading up inside it and Stéphane is the first one to make the attempt for the clue . . . and the first one to slip and fall to his . . . end of the bungee cord. His son is proud of him for facing his fear but that fall should have killed it, and unfortunately moves them to the back of the pack.
Anne & Tanya are still driving around as the other teams line up wondering who is going to be the last to arrive at the Roadblock. Meanwhile, Ashley is not a happy camper as she goes over the side of the tram and makes her way to the bottom. She is just about to go under the tram and . . . down she goes kicking and screaming.
Time for Emmett to take a shot and one thing he has going for him is that he isn't afraid of heights. He's also got a lot more upper body strength and seems to be doing a lot better than everyone else. Slow and steady and he's across the bottom of the tram and . . . he's got the clue.
Jillian & Emmett are the first team heading to the shores of the Athabasca River where they'll need to suit up and paddle down the icy cold water to find their next clue. No problem as long as they make the right turn on to the highway. Speaking of right turns, Anne & Tanya have finally found their way to the base of Whistler's Mountain and will be the last to arrive at the Jasper SkyTram.
While waiting at the back of the line, Stéphane & Antoine read the clue and find that his weight will be supported by a harness for the second attempt so that takes a load off. Amy, Steph and Kelly are the next three to go up in the tram but Amy doesn't make it, . . . then Kelly doesn't make it, . . . then Steph tries something a little different to get under the tram and she manages to get to the ladder but then, just as she hooks her foot into the ladder, . . . she slips from the tram and finds herself hanging upside down.
As TeamBBCan float along, Kate & Kelly start rationalizing the time involved in completing the task, assuming right from the start that they'll fall, and decide to take a four hour penalty. Brandon thinks that's pretty risky this early in the game but he hasn't tried the challenge yet.
Steph & Kristen find the rafts and are now playing catch up with Jillian & Emmett who find their next clue. It's another Roadblock, where the team member who didn't do the last Roadblock will need to rappel down 80 feet into Two Creek Canyon, then navigate along the canyon and under a bridge to find a Parks Canada rep who will give them a beacon to locate one of three caches to find their next clue. If you know how to follow a signal this is even easier than geocaching, and if Wayne fell from the tram this would be my task. No problem.
Back at the SkyTram, Yvette tries the same move as Steph but she slips right at the end and now it's Lowell's turn. Unfortunately it's not his vision that lets him down but his grip as he too falls beneath the tram. That means it's time for Brandon to try his hand at the challenge but he lasted even less time than Lowell and once they make their way back to the ground, Anthony & Brandon decide to make a run for it and take the penalty rather than try again and that could be a really bad decision because they're way behind Kate & Kelly at this point.
Steph & Kristen find the clue for the second Roadblock and Kristen is pumped to make their way to Two Valley Canyon where Jillian is just about to go over the edge. Yes, there's a funny line here but I'm not touching it this time. No problem finding the Parks Canada rep but she's getting a little tired of Emmett's shouts of support as she heads off to find the cache.
Meanwhile, back under the tram, Stéphane's second attempt is a success despite his fears. Well done dad. While he gets back into the tram Ashley heads out and Ashley's second attempt was also successful, making her dad so proud.
At the canyon, Kristen is heading down while Jillian is proving to be a lousy geocacher wandering about without a clue. As it starts to rain on Whistler's Mountain the weather has taken a turn for the worse and they've shut down the challenge. This has forced all teams remaining to wait the allotted time that it would have taken to complete the challenge before receiving their next clue. On the upside that alleviates some teams from facing their fear of heights but it's going to leave Anne & Tanya in last place.
Kate & Kelly get their clue but they lose their raft by not dragging it ashore when they landed. Fortunately it didn't go too far and they're able to retrieve it and get on with the challenge. Unfortunately that lost time has allowed Brandon & Anthony to close the gap. The boys are almost ashore by the time the girls retrieve their raft.
Kristen may be able to pass Jillian here as she gets her tracker but Jillian has finally figured out geocaching and she and Emmett are now on their way to the Pit Stop at Pyramid Lake Resort. This is a great place to stay and a very relaxing lake to canoe on but there'll be no relaxing today because Kristin found a cache and Steph & Kristin are racing up on Jillian & Emmett.
Stéphane & Antoine and Joel & Ashley both get the Roadblock clue and its now up to Antoine and Joel to show what they're made of. The remaining teams finally get their clue at the SkyTram and are quick to locate the next clue thanks to the joys of editing. As they head for the rafts, Kate goes over the cliff and Anthony is quick to follow. While they're waiting Brandon tells Kelly they also took the penalty, and that's their second mistake of the day.
Jillian & Emmett are Team Number 1 and have won a trip for two to London, England with five nights accommodation from Hotels.com. As they walk off Steph & Kristen are Team Number 2, and happy to be there even if they're not first.
Kate finds the cache and Kate & Kelly are off to the Pit Stop with Anthony & Brandon just seconds behind them and sure they can beat the girls in a foot race. Nope. Kate & Kelly are the third to arrive but they receive a four hour penalty and as Anthony & Brandon arrive to receive the same four hour penalty they're starting to worry. They should be worried.
Thanks to some misdirection on the road, which is pretty hard to do in Jasper where there aren't that many roads, Anne & Tanya have managed to catch up to everyone else so it's game on, even though they're still in last place heading to the canyon. If they knew about the two teams waiting out penalties they'd feel a lot more relieved but at least now they're back in the pack.
At the Pit Stop, Stéphane & Antoine are Team Number 3 and Joel & Ashley are Team Number 4.
Frankie goes into the canyon, then Julie, then Rita, and finally Tanya. While all the other teams find the cached clue, Julie is copying Jillian and has fallen into last place, . . . but not by much as the others repeat their ability to get lost on the road. Everyone is racing for Pyramid Lake Resort and somehow Julie & Lowell pull ahead of Frankie & Amy and it's Julie & Lowell as Team Number 5 and Frankie & Amy as Team Number 6.
Somehow Anne & Tanya have gotten lost again with Rita & Yvette right beside them and they're running out of time. There's only 58 minutes left as those penalties are counting down and that's cutting it pretty close. Finally they find the lake and Rita & Yvette are the ninth team to arrive, making Anne & Tanya the tenth and final team to arrive . . . However, thanks to the two teams still waiting out their penalties, Rita & Yvette are Team Number 7 and Anne & Tanya are Team Number 8.
With that Jon calls the two penalized teams over and Kate & Kelly are Team Number 9, which leaves Anthony & Brandon as the last team to be checked in and they have been eliminated from the race. Lesson learned for the other teams, . . . quitting is not an option. They were the youngest team this season and even though they seemed to have a better attitude than a lot of young people today, their youth worked against them. Sorry boys, we'll chat with you soon.
That's it. The first episode of season four has finally aired and we're back in the saddle again. Wayne and I are looking forward to talking with all the teams and hope to get a few guests at the Druid if we're lucky. This was a great episode and I really enjoyed it. The editing was top-notch, even with a few of those blink and you miss it cuts. Thank goodness for my PVR.
Next week nine teams race to Calgary to continue facing their fear of heights, test their rhythm, flounder with flounders, and find two Express Passes on the line. While they're busy doing that Wayne and I will be right here to tell you all about it. In the meantime, keep an eye out for our video review of this episode coming real soon. Until that time.