Recap: The Amazing Race Canada 4, Episode 1- Who’s Ready to Let It All Hang Out?
The 4th season of The Amazing Race Canada begins in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories as ten teams run to the Starting Line on a frozen lake.
Teams include “Fire & Ice” mom and daughter Frankie & Amy, friends and single moms Anne & Tanya, BB Canada exes Jillian & Emmett, twin sisters Rita & Yvette, best friends Anthony & Brandon, married couple Julie & Lowell (who is legally blind), best friends and Chinese-Canadians Kelly & Kate, First Nations father and daughter Joel & Ashley, father and son Stephane & Antoine, and dating couple Steph & Kristen.
The winning team will win a trip for two around the world from Air Canada Hotels.com, their choice of any two Chevy vehicles driven on the Race and $250,000.
The teams start the Race by needing to translate a phrase written in Weledeh by searching the forest for translations. The phrase “hotia dechinta k’eahde” is translated to “travel safely across the land.” Once they’ve give the correct translation to the language expect, she will hand them the next clue and their BMO CashBack MasterCard which they will use on the Race.
The next clue tells teams to drive brand new Chevy Silverados to the airport and catch one of two flights to Edmonton, Alberta. The first flight carries only four teams: Stephane & Antoine, Joel & Ashley, Anne & Tanya and a previously lost Jillian & Emmett. Everyone else is on the second flight.
Once in Edmonton, teams will be taken on buses to Jasper where they will pick up brand new Chevy Colorados and their next clue, the Road Block: Who’s ready to let it all hang out?
For this Road Block, teams will drive to Jasper SkyTram where they will climb out of a tram in midair and use monkey bars to make their way under it to a waiting clue on the other side. Only three teams can be in a tram at a time and teams who fail must go to the end of the line.
Stephane, Emmett, Anne and Ashley decide to do the Road Block, but on the way, Anne & Tanya get lost. Of the second flight, Steph, Amy, Lowell, Kelly, Yvette and Anthony decide to do it.
Stephane and Ashley fail their first attempt, but of course buff Emmett easily crosses. He and Jillian can now drive to Athabasca River where they must paddle to their next clue.
Steph is the next to grab the clue and she and Kristen are off after a kiss.
After having to go to the end of the line, Kelly & Kate realize they will be hours behind since each tram takes about an hour to go and come back. They decide to strategically take the 4 hour penalty instead.
After the next round of failures, Anthony & Brandon also decide to take the penalty.
Stephane and Ashley are able to complete the Road Block But the remaining four are no longer able to attempt it because it has started raining and it is no longer safe. Amy, Lowell and Yvette will have to wait out the time it would have taken to complete the challenge while Anne & Tanya, the last to arrive at the task, will be the last to leave after everyone else.
At the rafting, Kate & Kelly’s raft drifts away as Anthony & Brandon try to get in front of them to avoid elimination with the penalty.
Meanwhile, Jillian & Emmett find the next clue and another Road Block: Who’s ready to search high and low?
For this Road Block, teams drive to Two Creek Canyon which they must rappel into, walk to the river valley and retrieve an avalanche beacon which they must use to find three caches of clues. The team member who did not complete the first Road Block must do this one.
Jillian & Emmett maintain their lead and can now drive to the Pit Stop, the island in the middle of Pyramid Lake. They take first and win a trip to London. Steph & Kristen are 2nd.
Kelly & Kate and Anthony & Brandon arrive on the Mat as Teams #3 and #4 respectively. But both teams must wait out their four hour penalty.
Stephane & Antoine, Joel & Ashley, Julie & Lowell, Frankie & Amy, Rita & Yvette and Anne & Tanya check-in as the real Teams #3 through #8.
That means Kelly & Kate are officially Team #9 and Anthony & Brandon are last and eliminated.
TAR Canada is back and it was as Canadian as ever.
Now I know TAR fans love TAR Canada and regard it as the best current TAR franchise. (Which might be true considering TAR Australia, the all-time best non-original TAR franchise, is currently dead.) But TAR Canada isn’t without its faults and I think this premiere episode definitely highlighted a lot of the nitpicks I have with it.
First off, I still don’t know why TAR Canada doesn’t just have the Starting Line in the same city as the opening Leg. There is really no reason for them to fly on the first Leg when the they’re not leaving Canada anyway. It’s a waste of money which really could go to adding at least one more international Leg or another task.
Anyway, the editing for this episode was very choppy and all over the place. The team intros at the beginning felt so long and slow. The intros plus the Starting Line task (yay for actually having a task, meh to the task itself) took up basically 1/3 of the episode. Definitely not the strongest way to start.
The first Road Block was pretty good in terms of the task itself. Seeing the preview pics (and only the pics since CTV geoblocks even preview videos), I was reminded of TARAu’s Vancouver tram Road Block where teams stood on top of a tram to grab flags. That was a great task, but I think this one here might have been a little better if only because if teams fail, they get dropped.
It was a very physical task. Maybe a little too difficult though. That wouldn’t be a problem, but as it was presented in the episode, a tram ride took an hour each. For a first come, first served task with a one hour waiting period? That’s poor Leg design there. Not to mention getting closed because of weather and basically giving the next teams a free ride to the next clue.
The rafting was a mere afterthought on the episode and probably would’ve easily been skipped had Kelly & Kate not let theirs go down the river without them. Though that was an example of false drama or undeveloped drama.
The last Road Block was simple and straightforward and certainly reminiscent and inspired by many TAR tasks of the past.
The Leg overall was pretty barebones and bland. The outcome was pretty much decided 1/3 into the episode and none of the little moments meant to add some tension and drama to the episode worked.
It was a very meh premiere for a poorly designed Leg, but the season has, at least, another okay cast to try and carry the load of what is surely another xenophobic Canada-heavy route.
My Subjective Team Rankings
I don’t really have a good sense of any of the teams yet, despite those looooong intros. Frankie & Amy have the potential to be a great team both in terms of Racing ability and personality.
I hate quitting, but Kelly & Kate‘s decision at least made a little sense compared to other “quitters.” Still, I want to see an Asian-AmericanCanadian team do well, so I hope they recover and make up for this decision in future Legs. Rita & Yvette may be a typical sisters/twin team, but I also have high hopes that they will do well.
Jillian & Emmett‘s bickering would’ve been fun had they not been presented as 4-second snippets and peppered throughout the episode. That added to the disjointed feeling of the episode. But at least it was a glimpse of what they might do in the future. If they can be strong, competent Racers while being upset with each other, that’s good TV.
Joel & Ashley will hopefully be this season’s Simi & Ope. Julie & Lowell have a good story, but at the same time, we don’t want to see too much harping over Lowell’s condition. They seem to have a lot of potential as Racers, so no need to paint them as some “Woe is me” team like TARUS did to the horrible Dave & Conner, for example.
Anne & Tanya also have some nice potential to be a fun team to watch. They’ve got navigation problems, but it will be interesting to see if they can overcome them and become strong competitors.
Steph & Kristem had a solid Leg, but in turn, that made them a little boring and almost invisible had it not been for their kissing. Otherwise, they might become too one-note. Same with Stephane & Antoine. Not much to be excited about in terms of personality and they had a very quite Leg despite Stephane doing the Road Block. Anthony & Brandon might have been the most boring team of the season, so I am not too sad about their elimination this week.
Overall, an okay cast that was able to elevate this episode more than the editing did.
Jillian: “I wanna go hard that way. Are you listening? Take us over there Emmett, you’re making me cry!”
Brandon: “I gotta pee so bad.”
Kelly: “We are so dumb that we made this mistake.”
Antoine: “Come on dad, I’m losing my pants.”