Monday, 26 August 2013

The Amazing Race Canada: Pre-Finale Speculation, Teams, Legs and Spoiler Recap

This post contains spoilers. If you don't want to know, then just turn around now and leave the way you came!

With just 4 episodes left in the season, I thought it would be nice to do a little review of the remaining teams and a summary of the spoilers for each leg. When I first decided to cover The Amazing Race Canada, I never even considered putting out spoilers. But I got sucked into it all when the teams were first spotted at Niagara Falls. I wondered where they were going and what could they Canada. Then I thought, who are these people that were putting themselves out there, along with all their idiosyncrasies, practically signing their lives away, just to be on national TV?

This show simply cannot be filmed without being seen by the public. It doesn't make much of a difference anymore if it's just in Canada, or if it's an international road trip. There are franchises of it all over the world, and everyone recognizes what they are seeing when they spot two people with backpacks being followed by a cameraman and a sound tech. But, these sightings don't really tell you very much other than the where or sometimes the who. They were quite boring actually. So boring that I thought the show was going to flop badly. A lot of people thought the same. The sightings in Regina were a good example. It just all seemed so lame, yet that episode was one of the best, and the most difficult so far. All of the legs have been great. My only one complaint was the Vancouver leg which I found to be terrible. Sorry Vancouver, but I just don't think the show served your city any justice. Chinatown was nice. But they spent too much time there, when there are so many places they could have featured. Granville Island? Stanley Park? Gastown? Nope. Instead, we were treated to a marine cargo terminal. Not that cargo terminals aren't necessary to the economy, but nobody wants to see it. What a shame. I think everyone in Vancouver should get a petition going and demand a re-do in Season Two.

The Remaining Teams

Like I said, these teams practically signed their lives away on their contract. The show is free to include anything you say or do, and they have an open book when it comes to editing your character any way they want. Yes, it's considered the best in reality TV. There are worse shows out there. But it's still their show, their rules. If they want to portray you as cheaters, they will. Do you think Holly and Brett were the only ones who played dirty - like hiding the maps? The other teams were probably upset they didn't think of it first - if they thought they could get away with it they would. Or Vanessa and Celina cutting in line at the airport? If it was two women at the front of the line, you can bet that Jet and Dave would have asked them if they could cut in. The show is all in the editing. So when I make fun of the girls, or I point out how much I do not like the docs, I am just playing along with their characterization. Seriously, they should think twice before they open their mouths when that camera is rolling. If you're auditioning for the show, yes, you want to come across as one of these 'characters'. After all, this show is cast just like any other TV show. But once you are signed up and the camera is filming you, then don't do or say anything you will regret later.

Holly and Brett - At first I found them charming. They were pediatricians after all, and they've pledged a portion of their cash winnings to the Children's Hospital in Montreal. How noble is that? Now? Not so much. I am very tired of the 'know-it-alls' who really don't know anything. Brett has turned into Mr. One Note. Canada just doesn't need to be reminded every episode that you two are doctors, and as doctors, you just don't have time for all the little things in life, That noble quality is now starting to come across as condescending. I'm sure there will be lots of tears when they're eliminated. Just not from me. I take that back. I will be upset because I won't have anyone to complain about. See you at the finish line Bones, not when you win...when you're cheering on the winning team.

Vanessa and Celina - My thoughts on these two are the exact opposite of the docs. At first I just couldn't stand them, and I made fun of them by saying things like they will need to stop to do their nails. I think it was that horrible team bio on the show homepage with all that stuff about being "mini but mighty". That just screamed annoying. But now they have kind of grown on me. Sure they take advantage of their how pretty they are. Why the hell not? Especially if they are competing against Jet's muscles. Sure all the crying and whining has been way too much, but it's also kind of funny now, and it's really going to come to a head in Iqaluit. I still stand by my suspicion that these two were cast on the show in the traditional sense, but it is what it is. It's a TV show after all. Was there ever really any expectation of these two winning? No, especially not against the alpha male type teams. I will miss them in the last couple of episodes, because seeing Vanessa and Celina getting lost in Toronto would have made for great TV. They will have time to clean up real nice and do their nails in time for the traditional winning team run-by at the finish line. Sorry fanboys, but they are next out after Mr. and Mrs. Bones. It's going to be an alpha male showdown in the finale.

Tim Sr. and Tim Jr. - I like these two. These guys have to be the up and down kings of Amazing Race. They can play a good game when they set their mind to it, or they can totally mess up to the point of being saved TWICE because of non-elimination legs. They keep fighting their way back into the game, especially when the going gets tough. They are not done yet. Despite their patience and determination, they've not had a first place finish in any of the legs. (as of the writing of this post) If they can get their mojo back (as Tim Sr. puts it), they have a fighting chance, but they have to stop getting lost, or second guessing themselves. Perhaps they just haven't peaked yet.

Jody and Cory - My second best favourites. Who the hell doesn't like these two? Jody really won me over at the RCMP boot camp in Regina. They are sure and steady, concentrated and determined. Cory has made a few mistakes, like the charter plane mishap in Yellowknife, but they took it with stride and didn't let it get to them. They seemed a bit too serious at first, what with all that talk of destroying the other teams in their bio. Kind of put me off a bit, but I'm okay now. Plus it looks like they've opened up a bit - in Quebec with Jet and Dave's fake clue. I think they found out they can have a bit of fun along the way. It's not all business, all the time. I really think their eyes are on the prize, and that they have just been biding their time. Their run to the finish line in Carcross showed that Jody can work through that pain, and he can put a good run in when he needs to. I really believe we have not seen them peak yet. Jody will probably strap on his blades somewhere between St. John's and Toronto (he said they are more efficient) and keep them on until the finish line. They are going to treat that final leg more like the 100m and less like a marathon.

Jet and Dave - If the truth be told, I wasn't a fan at first. Yuck. Typical alpha males. Ugg. Me Jet...him Dave. Now? I love these two big lugs. They are definitely the stars of the show. Champignons? Classic. That kind of stuff is a producer's dream come true. They come across as muscle heads, but when it comes down to it, they can reason things in Quebec. Dave figuring out ham, cheese and...spinach. They are a much more confident team now that they have won 3 legs, than that pair we remember from Vancouver. Running around like ding dongs, getting lost and letting the Chinese translation get the better of them. Let's just hope they don't have to do a challenge in Toronto's Chinatown. Nah. Of course, maybe they have peaked already, and the rest of the race will just fall apart for them. All they have to do is concentrate now. Guys...just think of turning over the engines in those Corvette Stingrays. Yeah that's right. Think. Think. Think.

Remaining Legs

Leg 7 Iqaluit, Nunavut - by the look of it, it's going to be brutal. The docs and the girls just won't be able to keep looks like they have simply burnt up everything they have. The sled pull challenge will exhaust them, then they have to do a run up that snow slope to the rocky top of the mountain. It's going to be dramatic. Expect some crying from Holly and Brett. Like I said in my preview for this episode, we will probably see the teams being given a tour of Iqaluit and the surrounding area when this leg is done. This could give the remaining teams a bit of a break and a time to recharge.

Leg 8 Mahone Bay and Lunenburg, Nova Scotia - After the teams were announced by CTV, there was a lot of complaining in the Maritimes about a lack of representation. Rightfully so. I am pretty sure that these next two legs will make up for the oversight, at least partially. Of course there were no teams or legs in New Brunswick or Prince Edward Island. But this won't be the last season of the show, and I am sure these places will be covered eventually. This will be a beautiful leg, even with all the rain they had. There will be a Roadblock in Mahone Bay which appears to be duplicating a scarecrow. This takes place at the Gazebo on Main St. In Lunenburg, there is a Detour involving lobster fishing. This leg has another Double U-Turn, and that board is inside St. John's Anglican Church. There is a Route Marker at the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic, and of course, what kind of leg would it be without a stop at the Bluenose II?

Leg 9 St. John's, Newfoundland - If you didn't fall in love with the Maritimes in the Episode 8, then this leg will cap it off. This episode is full of local flavour. The three remaining teams will be busking for money by performing with an ugly stick. Looks like there will be some adorable, gentle giant Newfies pulling carts (I want a Newfie!). And the Pitstop? Cape Spear of course. I believe this episode will be the first part of a 'double leg' and the three remaining teams will be told to keep racing on to the final leg. There will be no eliminations. Only the guys were seen in St. John's.

Leg 10 Toronto, Ontario - Well of course it's Toronto. Kind of disappointing, I know. But I do understand why they did it here. Traffic congestion up the wazoo. Confusion, anxiety, and lots of chances for teams to change positions. Oh the drama! Plus believe it or not, despite all the people, there is a certain amount of anonymity. It's like the old saying - you can't see the forest for the trees. There is always something being filmed here. The teams were originally set to rappel down the side of City Hall. It went through the approval process in City Council. Two things went wrong. First, it was discovered by the press. Second, May 24th just happened to be the day that every reporter in the city was at City Hall trying to cover the Rob Ford crack scandal. It was so bad that a live feed was fixed on the elevator and a Twitter account was started for it. There was no way the producers were going to film there. I don't know which challenge was substituted for it. They go to the Toronto Zoo (they were seen at the new Panda exhibit), the Cadbury factory and the L Tower (which is under construction). They were seen along the Esplanade and at Queen's Quay West. If they follow the format of the original U.S. series, one remaining challenge will be a memory game of the places they visited in the legs. Most teams have learned to take notes along the way for this very reason. Jody & Cory and Jet & Dave were spotted in Toronto.

Which brings us to the finish line. Where could it be? It has to be somewhere secluded. Well, let me tell you where the number one contender is.

Have you really watched the beginning of the show? Not the opening credits. Just before that when they describe the grand prizes. They show the First Class seating/beds on board Air Canada, a Corvette Stingray, then the $250,000 flashes on the screen. Take a good look at the car. What do you see? Yep, that's the Toronto skyline as seen from south of Toronto. There is only one place that could be and that's the Toronto Islands. It's not just CG either. The camera swings around - it's very quick, and you can see the reflection of the cameraman and the parkland behind the car. Those cars had to be at the finish line waiting for the winners - Chevrolet is going to make sure the winners turn that ignition and we can listen to that engine purr.  I can't say for sure this is the finish line, but it fits, and I just can't see them going to the expense of making that shot for some sort of foiler. Could be wrong, I admit it. Do they take the ferry or canoe? I don't know. Who will those winners be? I know who I am rooting for. In truth though, if any of those final three teams I mentioned end up winning, that would be fine with me.

Until then, I will continue to do my weekly recaps on Tuesdays and weekly previews on Fridays, where I will elaborate on the details of the final legs. 

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