Recap: The Amazing Race Canada 2, Episode 1 – “What’s It Take to Get a Cup of Tea?”
Jon Montgomery stands atop the stunning new Glacier Skywalk in Jasper National Park located in the heart of the Canadian Rocky Mountains. 11 brand new teams are being transported by Ice Explorer to the Starting Line atop the Athabasca Glacier.
The 11 teams are:
Natalie & Meghan, Olympic hockey gold medalists.
Mickey & Pete, best friends from Ontario who believe “heterosexual male love” conquers all.
Sukhi & Jinder, well-traveled siblings from British Columbia.
Jon welcomes the teams to the Starting Line and tells them there are 12 Legs that will take them to 15 cities. The winners of the first Leg will get two Express Passes. And the team that gets to the Finish Line first will win a trip for two around the world in business class from Air Canada, two Chevrolet Silverados with gas for life from Petro Canada and $250,000.
Jon gives them the go signal and teams run over to their packs to open their first clues. Driving in their new Chevy Tahoes, teams must head to Winsport’s Canada Olympic Park in Calgary to find their next clue.
Cormac & Nicole and Alain & Audrey arrive first and find the clue instructing teams to get strapped up to ride North America’s fastest zipline, reaching speeds of up to 140 km/h, to receive their next clue and their Scotiabank Gold American Express Card from Olympian Helen Upperton.
The mother & son and couple speed down and open the next clue telling teams to fly on one of three flights to Victoria, British Columbia via Vancouver.
At the airport, Cormac & Nicole realize who Natalie & Meaghan are. Cormac’s a big fan, but Nicole will not hesitate to U-Turn them, Canadian Olympic gold medalists or not.
Teams board their respective planes, each departing one hour apart. On the first flight are Alain & Audrey, Rex & Bob, Cormac & Nicole and Natalie & Meaghan. On the second flight are Sukhi & Jinder, Laura & Jackie and Ryan & Rob. On the last flight are Mickey & Pete, Shahla & Nabeela, Jen & Shawn and Pierre & Michel.
The first flight arrives in Victoria and teams must now head to the Viscount Aero Center where they must search a vintage bi-plane for their next clue, the Road Block.
In this first Road Block of the Race, teams will board a plane and take a tandem skydive 12,000 feet down to Willows Beach where they will reunite with their partners.
Natalie is up first, but she starts to throw up. She musters up enough energy to jump out of the plane, but still feels nauseous all the way down. Alain is the next to jump, followed by Nicole and Bob.
Teams must now find the cluebox next to the Arbutus Tree outside the Fairmont Empress Hotel.
Meanwhile, the 2nd flight arrives in Victoria and Sukhi, Ryan and Jackie make the jump.
Back at the Empress Hotel, the first group finds the 2nd Road Block.
For this Road Block, teams must serve afternoon tea to the waiting patrons. After getting a lesson in etiquette, teams must memorize and then present and recite the correct menu options to the waiting guests. If their service is deemed unacceptable, they must go to the back of the line.
The teams learn it isn’t as easy as it seems, especially having to remember the exact names of the tea food.
But Meaghan manages to get the thumbs up on her second attempt. She and Natalie open up the next clue telling teams to travel by boat to the Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt to search for their next clue. Audrey gets it on her second attempt as well and she and Alain are right behind them.
Jinder, Rob, and Laura catch up to Cormac and Rex at the Empress.
Meanwhile, the 3rd and final flight finally arrives in Victoria and Jen, Pierre, Pete and Shahla complete the first Road Block.
Rex and Cormac finally finish the Road Block and head to the naval base.
Here, teams will become Navy recruits by taking part in an emergency training exercise. After suiting up, teams head into a ship simulator where they must plug the leaks of nine damaged areas to prevent it from flooding.
Natalie & Meaghan and Alain & Audrey get started.
At the Road Block, Laura gets approved on her 2nd attempt and Jinder gets it on his 5th.
Shawn, Mickey, Michel and Nabeela arrive at The Empress and get started as well.
Back at the naval base, Natalie & Meaghan and Alain & Audrey are neck and neck as they both finish and receive the next clue pointing them to the Pit Stop at the Fisgard Lighthouse at Fort Rodd Hill.
But it is Natalie & Meaghan who step on the Mat first to claim their two Express Passes, a trip for two to any South American destination Air Canada flies and $2,000. Alain & Audrey settle for 2nd.
At the base, Rex & Bob quickly get through the task while Cormac & Nicole plug in the wrong holes.
Rex & Bob and Cormac & Nicole head to the Pit Stop and officially check-in as Teams #3 and #4, respectively. Laura & Jackie finish as Team #5 while Sukhi & Jinder finish 6th and Mickey & Pete finish 7th.
At The Empress, Rob gets the thumbs up on his 4th attempt while Michel gets it on his 1st attempt.
That leaves Shawn and Nabeela to fight it out for last place. Nabeela finishes the Road Block on her 2nd attempt and she and Shahla head to the base, leaving Jen & Shawn in last.
Pierre & Michel and Ryan & Rob plug all their holes and step on the Mat as Teams #8 and #9.
Shahla & Nabeela are in the ship, but are struggling. They are dropping their tools in the water and cannot deal with the cold water which is now affecting their legs and muscles.
While Jen & Shawn are in the next room, Shahla & Nabeela decide to take a penalty because they just cannot handle the freezing water anymore.
That allows Jen & Shawn to meet Jon to check-in as Team #10. And Shahla & Nabeela end up in last and eliminated.
It was a solid premiere, if very full and kinda rushed. While it is awesome to see so many different tasks in one Leg, it was a little much for a premiere episode and first Leg. The naval base task could’ve easily been a Road Block, while the zipline and skydiving almost cancel each other out. Would’ve been better for either/or.
Though I do understand them wanting to have a task in Calgary before leaving. It still made the Leg more Linear than it already was, especially when all of the tasks were first come, first served.
Still, the tasks themselves were good. Could’ve easily been tasks on two Legs though and that in turn took some time away from showing more of the teams. Only a few teams really made big impressions this first episode.
Overall, pretty good. I wouldn’t say it was one of the best episodes of TAR in recent memory, but it was still fun and had more creative tasks than TARUS has had in recent seasons. Better cast too…
My Subjective Team Rankings
It’s hard to really rank the teams since we saw so little of half them. So the ones I’m ranking higher, so far, are the big personalities that left an impression this first Leg.
Sukhi & Jinder are the kind of wondertwins/wonder siblings that I like. A good, competitive team, but also loud and with lots of personality. You can see that there is potential for little squabbles between them, but you can also expect them to not take any prisoners. They’ll do what they have to do to win.
Rex & Bob are fun. Not only do they have a sense of humor and are fun, but they ran a very good Leg. They sped through that task at the base, which was definitely a physical task. So if they can keep it up, they’ll be a team to watch. And I really like, even if only for Bob’s “What’s it take to get a cup of tea around here!?” That made me laugh out loud, twice. Both times. It was so unexpected and random and that definitely endeared me to them.
It’s always great to have strong parent-child teams on the Race. (Keyword: STRONG. Not weak, whiny, hypocritical jerks. Hello Dave & Connor! Worst TAR winners ever!) Cormac & Nicole look like they could be a fun, competitive, cutthroat team. Maybe a Margie & Luke without Luke’s whining. That would be amazing to see and definitely a team to look out for.
Natalie & Meaghan, so far, seem to be a more fun and interesting Mona & Beth. I definitely hope to see more personality out of them and see them really do well, especially with an Express Pass to help them out. On the other side of the spectrum, it was sad to see Shahla & Nabeela suffer such a horrible elimination. Are they the first team to ever quit on the first Leg of the Race? That sucks. They seemed like they could be very competitive. But I guess not. That water must’ve been really freezing. Still, I would’ve loved to see them Lucy & Emilia-their way deep into the Race. They seemed to have that kind of vibe.
And now for the rest of the teams. They really didn’t leave any big impression after the first Leg.
Alain & Audrey were the more visible of the rest of the pack, if only because they were 2nd most of the Leg. I could see them being a strong, competitive team, but I hope they can show more of their personality too since we saw glimpses of it in this first episode. They have potential to be really fun to watch.
Mickey & Pete‘s laid back vibe and their “heterosexual love” intro gets them more time and leaves a bigger impression than the others. As were Pierre & Michel‘s disinterest in Shahla & Nabeela’s flirting and Michel smashing the Road Block with his French accent.
Ryan & Rob are no Jet & Dave and they were almost invisible this Leg. Laura & Jackie and Jen & Shawn were pretty bland too and at least Jen & Shawn got screentime for being in danger of elimination.