Tuesday, 17 September 2013

The Amazing Race Canada: RECAP of Finale 'The Family Race Off'

The show started with the standard overview of the season, then the introduction of the 3 remaining teams. Blah, blah, blah. Get on with it! Yeah, I'm kind of impatient.

Finally, the teams start off in St Johns, Newfoundland:

Jody and Cory 2:56 a.m.
Vanessa and Celina 2:57 a.m.
Tim and Tim 3:21 a.m.

So right away, with a departure in the middle of the night, and the teams only 25 minutes apart, you just know they will all get on the same flight to Toronto. When they get to the St. John's airport, an Air Canada representative informs them they all have seat upgrades. That's cool. They can all have a chance to relax before the final leg goes into full swing. Maybe the girls will even have time to do their nails. The clue tells them to search for a woman with a Canadian maple leaf baseball hat who will give them their next clue. Of course they all find her right away, probably because no one at Toronto Pearson International Airport wears a hat like that. The clue she hands over directs them to the L Tower. It's a 57 story condo, still under construction, at Yonge and the Esplanade.

The L Tower (see notes below)
It's a Roadblock. "Who wants to hang out?".  So they are at the base of a 57 story building, and the clue asks who wants to hang out. And it's under construction - the top floors still don't have their outer facade yet. That can't be good. Vanessa, Tim Jr. and Jody decide to do it. Their team mates wait on the ground. They have to put on construction helmets and they are all escorted to the 35th floor. Vanessa says the open floors can't be safe. Don't worry Vanessa. Just watch your step - don't trip on a pipe and fall off the edge. They all get strapped up with their safety lines and rigging. Their next clue is clipped on to their belt - they have to give it to their team mate when they get to the bottom. IF they get to the bottom that is. Then they put on climber style helmets. Why...I don't know. Shit lot of good that helmet is going to do for you if you fall. Except maybe there is an individual camera attached to each helmet. So they can get that up close and personal shot of extreme horror on their faces.

They don't exactly 'rappel' in the normal sense of the word. They have to reach out for the thin green rope and pull themselves down...head first. Monty demonstrates it for us - he's horizontal and spread-eagle Very awkward. Very scary. I really have to commend them, especially Vanessa. I don't know if I could have done that. She really IS mini but mighty. Their clue tells them to find the Cadbury Factory - there is a Caramilk bar for reference. Just in case they don't know what a Caramilk bar is. The only problem is, that's all the clue says. There is no address given. Vanessa and Celina stop some guy on the street to look it up on his phone, while the others go into the hotel across the street to find out where it is. Vanessa and Celina take the lead and reach the factory first. The Tims and Jody & Cory are close behind.

Inside the factory, they are greeted by the Oompa-Loompas, who, I must say, look much taller in person than in the movies. Their task is to find the golden Caramilk bar hidden inside cases of chocolate bars on a conveyer belt. The cases are like the ones you see at Costco. They make Vanessa wear gloves, because she is wearing nail polish. Oompa-Loompas are mean, aren't they? See? What did I tell you? She DID have to stop during the race to put on nail polish! And on the last leg of the race too. Really Vanessa? Knew it. And it came back to bite her in the ass. Even Celina gave her crap for it. Celina .... chill. Just be thankful she didn't stop and try to take a drink from the river of chocolate. The gloves make it very hard to tear open the wrappers. She tries to take them off, but those nasty Oompa-Loompas tell her she has to put them back on. Jody & Cory and Vanessa and Celina get into a heated discussion about their unwrapping talents. Jody says, "I've been unwrapping chocolate bars since before you were born". Vanessa shoots back with "Well I was born chocolate". Just as Tim Jr. reflects on the part that luck plays in challenges like this...lo and behold...the Tims find their golden bar.

They bring it to Willy Wonka. Strangely enough, Willy is wearing an old timey suit and a top hat...and there's a Trillium on his lapel. Anyway, this guy hands the Tims a golden key. It opens a safe which holds their next clue. There is an angellic 'ahhh' sound effect when they open the safe and see the clues. They must now go to the Toronto Zoo and search the grounds for their next clue. Um. What? Where? What? Three excellent questions. Do you have any idea how big the Toronto Zoo is? Sure, it's not San Diego Zoo kind of big. But it's big. Real big. Let me put it this way. It's a whole day of fun for you and your whole family.

Meanwhile, back at the factory, the girls and Jody and Cory have opened what amounts to be a mountain of chocolate looking for their golden chocolate bars. What a waste. I don't know how they resisted eating any of it. Oh wait, maybe they were afraid of being turned into giant blueberries, or worse yet, having to listen to the Oompa-Loompas sing. The girls find theirs and leave believing they have a big lead over Jody and Cory. But the guys find theirs soon after.

Koala, according to Vanessa's good brain.
The Tims get to the zoo way ahead of the others. Tim Jr. says he has seen a lot of stuff about the new panda exhibit so they go there first. It's not too far from the main entrance - all you have to do is turn right. But here's the weird thing: They go to the arch over the entrance, have a look around, and say they aren't going in. Then leave. Why? Why oh why didn't you guys go in? Because it was there! You just couldn't see it from the entrance. So what do they do? They go off to the Canadian domain, which is located at the far end of the park....down a long steep hill. They go there because this is the Amazing Race Canada, and that is the Canadian Domain. Canadian animals. Must be a connection there, right? Wrong. I can tell you it's a hell of a trek back there. I am thinking, crap...that's it for them. I hate watching a team fall apart like this. Vanessa and Celina talk to their cabbie and find out the pandas are new and realize they should go there first.  They retrieve the next clue. Vanessa thinks they found the clue first because "Our brains are good. We knew it was the koalas." Yep. Real good brains. The clue tells them to head back downtown to the Evergreen Brickworks. The girls made their cabbie wait, while Jody and Cory have to get someone to call for a taxi. The girls take the lead again.

The poor Tims are now in the African Domain. They are frustrated. They decide to start over again and eventually head back to the pandas. Yes. They find it. Maybe all is not lost.

There is another Roadblock at the Brickworks. This is the traditional memory challenge which is usually the last task before the finish line. The clue reads, "Who's got the race all mapped out?". They must match Provincial and Territorial flags with the official flowers that were worn by the greeters on each leg, and place them on a map of Canada. The team member to do this challenge must be the one who didn't do the L Tower rappel. Oh oh. Bad news for the girls. Celina has to do it. It's Vanessa who has the better memory. Because she is an actress and must remember her lines and stuff like remembering about koalas. Sure enough, Celina had memorized the flags. She didn't notice the greeters had flowers at any of the pitstops. Jody and Cory get there. Cory knows the flags, he noticed the flowers, but he can't remember any of them.

Jody and Vanessa are waiting outside. Vanessa is convinced that the Tims have been there and gone. Jody is not so sure. They don't know they are presently tied for the lead, and the Tims got lost at the zoo. Celina and Cory are having a hard time with the task. The Tims show up and Vanessa and Jody are shocked. Shocked I say. Vanessa is downright ecstatic to think the race is not lost. Tim Sr. goes in. He memorized the flags before the race. He noticed the greeter was wearing a flower on the very first leg back in Kelowna. His wife told him to look for stuff like that, and he listened to her. Good man. Celina comes out and tells Vanessa maybe they should take a time penalty. Vanessa tells her no and sends her back in. Tim gets it on the second try. The Tims are off...to the finish line. Cory finishes eventually...we don't see Celina complete the puzzle.

The teams must make their way to the Toronto Islands - Olympic Island to be exact. But I knew this way back in Episode 2 when they started showing those Corvette Stingrays in the opening sequence. They have to take the
The ferry to Centre Island. It departs every 30 minutes. With or without any Amazing Race teams on board.
ferry - they depart every 30 minutes. When the Tims make it to the dock, there is already a ferry there. They have to wait 8 minutes until it leaves. When they board it, they go upstairs to the back and wait to see if the others will arrive. After all, those pesky girls are always around somewhere. This is nerve-wracking!!!

Cut for commercial. Of course they do. I am on the edge of my seat praying for the Tims, and there's a friggin commercial? The one thing I don't want to see is a dash from the ferry to Olympic Island between all three teams, just on the slim chance the girls might beat everyone. Which I know wouldn't happen, but you can never tell. Right?

When the show comes back on, we see an overhead shot of the ferry reaching the dock. Next scene is Monty and the other six teams at the finish line. The camera pans to the stone bridge. It's the Tims. Of course it is. And you know what? The other teams are sincerely happy to see them. Most of the teams are cheering them on like crazy. Treena and Tennille are in tears and scream 'Way to go boys!!!" Jet and Dave are jumping around. Brett and Hol Hol Hol cheer appropriately - they aren't quite so happy. Hal and Joanne look like they are thinking "Meh".

So there you have it. The Tims, who didn't win any previous leg, who were almost eliminated twice, who were always getting lost or who had the worst luck with taxi drivers...are the first winners of the Amazing Race Canada. For the record, Jody & Cory were second and Vanessa & Celina were third. Thank God. After re-watching it, I caught a short bit at the end where the judge gives Celina her clue at the puzzle. Her puzzle wasn't finished. This could only mean one thing. The Tims had already won and there was no point keeping the girls at the Brickworks any longer. Cory must have just finished his puzzle shortly before that, because the brothers reached the island at the same time as the girls. In the after-show, the Tims were asked at what point they knew they won. Tim Sr. said when the ferry pulled away from the dock, and the other two teams were nowhere in sight.

Oh and one more thing...Monty announced at the end of the after show that CTV will be accepting casting videos later this fall for the second season of The Amazing Race Canada, set to premiere next summer. As if we didn't know. It will be interesting to know if it's going to be another domestic version, or if they are going to take it on the road internationally.

Photo Credits:
L Tower - from Wikimedia Commons user K Edkins  http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:L_Tower_Toronto_04_Jun_2013.jpg
Panda - from Wikimedia Commons user Manyman  http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Giant_Panda_eating_Bamboo.JPG
Toronto Island Ferry - from Wikimedia Commons http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Toronto_Islands_Ferry.jpg

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