Before the Recap, let me first talk about TARC (or #RaceCDA?) in general.
For two episodes, The Amazing Race Canada has been more than solid. A surprisingly likeable, if not paint-by-numbers cast help deliver the excitement and thrill of the familiar Race.
The Amazing Race US has been huge in Canada, consistently topping the ratings charts, many times the most watched program in the country. So it’s a wonder why it took so long for Canada to have their own Race after the franchise has taken off with a dozen local versions around the world.
TAR Canada has a great film look that TARUS just does not have. I’m a complete ignoramus when it comes to filming and video frame rates and all that. And maybe someone can clue me in, but I often wonder why non-US shows look different especially The Amazing Race Australia and now The Amazing Race Canada compared to The Amazing Race US. That helps make TARC distinct from the mothership to the south.
I mentioned how the teams are likeable, though very paint-by-the-numbers. Indeed, most of the teams, if not all, fit a specific TAR character-types. We’ve got twins, we’ve got siblings, we’ve got father and son, we’ve got buff alpha-males, we have hippies and we’ve got a two-for-one with a pair of gay cowboys. We can probably match some of these teams to memorable TARUS teams of the past. But even so, they’ve provided a solid source of entertainment and good competition.
The tasks have been very good so far. Last week’s task that had the teams reach into boxes with varying degrees of creepy crawlies was a fresh take on the starting line task. The Leg 1 Road Blocks were very-TAR, but Leg 2’s tasks stepped it up.
I don’t see a problem with only nine teams and the Canada-only route. Like I didn’t really have problem with TAR8’s mostly-US only route, getting to travel the expansive Canadian terrain and diverse metro areas will provide enough beautiful backdrops for the Race.
And host Jon Montgomery is fine. He might be a little stiff and robotic sometimes, but I think he’s right on par with TARAu’s Grant Bowler and TARA’s Allan Wu. He’s actually a little more natural than TARPh’s Derek Ramsay.
But overall, TAR Canada is solid and I’m definitely in.
Now the Leg 2 recap:
Recap – The Leg
After twins Treena & Tennille were eliminated in the worst way possible last week, the teams get their first clue of the Leg telling them to fly from Kelowna to Vancouver.
Dating couple Kristen & Darren, married doctors Brett & Holly and buddies Jet & Dave make it on the first flight leaving at 7am with married Body Break icons Hal & Joanne managing to score standby tickets to join them.
Sisters Vanessa & Celina, brothers Jody & Cory and father and son Tim Sr. & Tim Jr. have to take the next flight at 8:20am. Gay cowboys Jamie & Pierre are already behind and fall even further back when they stop at an ATM before heading to the airport forcing them to take the latest flight at 10:55am!
The first flight arrives in Vancouver and teams must find their next clue at the Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge. The clue tells teams to head to the Richmond Olympic Oval and to search the grounds for their next clue.
All teams on the first flight except Hal & Joanne catch the first train out of the airport. The Oval is between two stops on the line, but Kristen & Darren get off at the first stop.
Bad decision. Brett & Holly and Jet & Dave get off at the next station and quickly find the cluebox containing the clue for the Road Block.
Who’s skating on thin ice?
In this Road Block, teams will dress in regulation skates and uniform and perform two laps of Speed Skating in under 1 minute and 30 seconds to receive their next clue.
They tumble and fall a few times, but both Brett and Jet mange to finish the Road Block on their first try. Hal & Joanne arrive at the Oval before Kristen & Darren and neither team has to redo the Road Block.
Teams must now make their way to the Millennium Gate, a symbolic entrance to Vancouver’s Chinatown, for their next clue.
Jet & Dave struggle to find a taxi. When Brett & Holly grab a cab and pass by them, they tell their driver not to call a cab for Jet & Dave who ask.
Kristen & Darren manage to find a cab before Jet & Dave, but Kristen & Darren’s directional bad luck continues as they get lost again.
Meanwhile, Brett & Holly arrive at Chinatown where they find the first Detour of the Race.
In Draw It, teams head to Ten Ren’s Tea & Ginseng Co. where they will each drink a cup of traditional tea. On the bottom of their cups is a Chinese Zodiac symbol which they must memorize as they walk over to Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden where they will recreate the symbol using a calligraphy brush. If the calligraphy expert rejects either symbol, they must return to Ten Ren’s and drink a brand new cup with a different symbol.
In Dance It, teams must make their way to the Chinese Cultural Centre and obtain a list of locations written completely in Mandarin and the four pieces they would need for a traditional Chinese Dragon costume. When they’ve collected the pieces, they would return to the Cultural Centre where they would put on the costume and perform the traditional Lion Dance.
Brett & Holly choose Draw It.
Back at the Oval, Tim Sr. & Jr. and Jody & Cory finish the Road Block while Vanessa & Celina start to get frustrated that they may be in last place.
Back in Chinatown, Jet & Dave decide to choose Dance It, but have no idea what to do with the Mandarin list.
Brett & Holly maintain their lead and get the yes from the calligraphy expert while Hal & Joanne also choose Draw It.
Teams must now head to DP World container terminal and climb up a 250 foot crane and use provided binoculars to scan the area and find the location of their next Pit Stop.
Over in Chinatown, Kristen & Darren and Tim Sr. & Jr. both choose Dance It while Jody & Cory and Vanessa & Celina choose Draw It.
While Jet & Dave struggle, Kristen & Darren make up for their getting lost and finish the Detour before them. Vanessa & Celina head to the garden to draw, but the calligraphy expert tears their first attempts, forcing them to go back.
Tim Sr. and Tim Jr. are also struggling with acquiring the costume so they decide to switch Detours. Jet & Dave have finally collected their pieces and are about to start dancing, but they stop and think maybe they should switch as they aren’t sure if they’ve even got the right stuff.
They end up switching to Draw It even though they’ve spent hours already on this side of the Detour.
Atop the crane, Brett & Holly see two flags atop a grassy roof. The Vancouver Convetion Centre’s living roof is the Pit Stop for this Leg. The married doctors step on the Mat first and win two round-trip tickets from Air Canada to any destination in Asia.
Hal & Joanne finish 2nd.
Across town, Kristen & Darren again get themselves lost on the way to the crane. This allows Jody & Cory to jump ahead of them to claim 3rd. Kristen & Darren are behind Vanessa & Celina at the shipping terminal, but the dating hippies end up at the Pit Stop in 4th with Vanessa & Celina finishing 5th.
Tim Sr. & Tim Jr. step on the Mat 6th with Jet & Dave finishing 7th.
That leaves Jamie & Pierre in last and eliminated from the Race.
It’s awesome to have a very cultural Detour even when this Race is only going to travel around Canada. That’s a great example of how a Race in one country as diverse as Canada and especially the US can still feature tasks that highlight different cultures from around the world.
The Route was simple, but the number of tasks and Route Markers helped create some suspense in placements.
However, the editing for Jamie & Pierre seemed very misleading since it didn’t seem like they had any shot at catching up being more than two hours behind.
Still, it was a very good episode and maybe even better than the first. TARC is off to a great start I think.
My Subjective Team Rankings (for Legs 1 and 2)
Hal & Joanne – I might not have the same nostalgia for Body Break as Canadians do, but I am definitely still rooting for them. They aren’t even that old, but they fit that character type for TAR and they certainly are fit enough and clever enough so far to really make a run for it. I’m excited to see what they can do.
Jet & Dave – They definitely remind me of TARUS’ Chippies James & Jaymes as well as TAR20’s Joey & Danny. You think they are these big, alpha male meatheads, but really are nice, laid back guys next door. I definitely get that same vibe from Jet & Dave. Not a good Leg for them at all, but I think they’ll be able to recover on the next Leg. As long as they lay off the quitting threats.
Tim Sr. & Tim Jr. – They’ve been staying in the back of the pack these two Legs. Their big mistake in the first Leg was definitely not a good way to start the Race. This Leg, they didn’t really make any moves to push themselves to the front and kinda lacked an urgency especially when they decided to switch Detours. We’ll see if they can step it up.
Jody & Cory – I think it’s been proven time and again on TAR that even people with handicaps can do very well on the Race. That’s no different with Jody & Cory and they could really be a safe bet to make it far. They seem to be both physically and mentally strong so they are definitely contenders so far.
Jamie & Pierre – TARC casting went for a two-for-one deal with these gay cowboys. And in a smaller cast, maybe that was the good decision. They had fun and seemed like nice guys, but they weren’t able to pull themselves out of last and their own mistake, stopping at an ATM, cost them a spot in the Race.
Treena & Tennille – They were eliminated the worst way possible with that penalty. It was their own fault for not reading their clue properly. Sad to say, but they deserved that elimination if they can’t follow probably THE #1 Race rule. They seemed like a team that could go far, but they unfortunately did themselves in.
Kristen & Darren – At first, they gave of a horribly familiar vibe, that is of TAR12’s TK & Rachel, or worse, TAR9’s “hippies.” *shudder* But thankfully, they don’t seem to be as bland and boring and instead of merely being “the hippies,” they seem more to fit the dysfunctional dating couple character type. That can be fun if they continue to bumble their way through directions and get snappy with frustration at each other.
Vanessa & Celina – They definitely didn’t endear with their little diss at the Mat last week to Tim Sr. and Jr. And this week, their frustration and negative attitudes don’t really signal a long stay for them in the Race. But you never know. They haven’t shown they are weak, necessarily. But they do need to keep their emotions in check.
Brett & Holly – They are certainly setting themselves up to be the villainous couple for the season. Both good and bad for them. Good, because many times that couple easily makes their way to the Final Leg while winning Legs along the way. Bad because just as many times, that couple suffers a major flameout in the middle of the Race. We’ll have to wait and see which one they will end up being.
Cory: “You have no idea how much it hurts to walk in these damn things.”
Jody: “I might have an idea how much it hurts to walk.”
Dave: “These eyes aren’t just for looks, they’re for looking.”