Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Recap of Amazing Race Canada 2 Premiere Episode "What's It Take To Get A Cup Of Tea?"

I expected Jon to be a lumberjack too. No dress, just tea.
These teams are beasts! BEASTS I say!

What a great premiere for season 2. Of course, I pretty much knew everything that was going down, but spoilers can only give you the basics and can't tell you all the details. I suspected this was going to be a fast moving episode and wondered how they were going to fit it all in. All things considered, this really should have been a 90 minute episode. Cramming it all into the one hour format does nothing for us getting to know these teams. That's my only complaint.

I am not going to give a blow by blow recap for this or the next couple of episodes. The show just jumps back and forth too much in between tasks with the teams, so the result would just be gibberish. There are just so many times I can say "meanwhile back at the ___". I am just going to tell you how teams placed after each task, then point out team strengths and weaknesses, and who impressed me/who didn't.

The Canadian Rockies. Specifically, the Athabaskan Glacier in the Columbia Icefields This is that "Canadian Moment" that is featured at the start of the race. I half expected Jon Montgomery  to exclaim, "I want to be a lumberjack" a la Michael Palin. What did you think of
Monty's Money Shot on the Glacier Skywalk (CTV)
that Glacier Skywalk? I know, I know. It was just a "money shot" but what a fine money shot it was. It sure was gorgeous. I suspected the Skywalk would be involved in one way or another soon after the show started filming on April 26 at the Icefields. It was also a bit of an indication that this episode would involve a lot of "airtime".

Team introductions were pretty standard.
The best one was Pierre and Michel. I loved Michel explaining that moguls are individual competitions, but he and Pierre will have to work "togethers" in Amazing Race Canada.

Cue the theme always gets my motor running.

The teams set off from the Icefields. The first clue told them to make their way to Frank King's
Sukhi & Jinder. so excited they forgot their packs in the back.
Day Lodge near Winsport Calgary Olympic Park, and were provided with Chevy Tahoes. Jinder Atwal gets his backpack stuck in the tailgate, then stops to fix it at the parking lot exit, blocking all the other teams in the process. Yelling "We're on Amazing Race Canada" at the same time. Great start there Jinder, but focus is key. Oh what the hell, go for it. You're on Amazing Race Canada! At the C.O.P., they had to take a ride down the Park's zipline, The Monster. It launches off the old Olympic 90m ski-jump, and speeds can reach 140 km/hr. No biggie. But you have to remember this was filmed at the end of April - it was snowing a bit that day for crying out loud. When you're going at that speed, well, it must have been tad... blistery. So you can understand Rex's line, "Mother of Cher! I can't see!!!". Teams were split up and made to zip down with opposing team members, which I don't understand. Here's the arrival/departure (placement) for this task:

Pierre: "We kill animal" Halal ones too.
1st group: Nicole with Audrey; Cormac with Alain. These two teams left from here in first place.
2nd group: Natalie with Rex; Meaghan with Bob.
3rd group: Jinder and Sukhi (arrived and left before any other teams arrived)
4th group: Pierre with Nabeela; Michel with Shahla.

Oddly, the remaining teams were not shown doing this task so we didn't get to see the exploits of Mickey and Pete riding the line - and I am sure that would have been great. Bummer. Best line from this segment goes to Pierre. When Nabeela and Shahla flirt a bit and ask the twins what they did for a living, Pierre answered, "We kill animal". Of course they were referring to their meat packing business, but Pierre said it in a very Arnold Schwarzenegger way. Just replace a French Canadian accent for the Austrian. It would have thrown me for a loop, but the girls kept it together and then asked if they did Halal meat. Funny.

Teams were given their next clue by Olympic Bobsleigh Silver medalist Helen Upperton. (Am I
Pete: I am sure he saw unicorns (CTV).
sensing a theme here?) They must make their way to the Viscount Aero Centre in Victoria, B.C.(via Vancouver) and search the 1930's green and yellow bi-plane for the next clue. They are given a $300 Scotia Bank card for this leg. There are 3 flights, each one hour apart from Calgary to Vancouver. Natalie & Meaghan, Alain & Audrey, Rex & Bob, and Nicole & Cormac make the 1st flight. The 2nd flight takes Sukhi & Jinder, Laura & Jackie, and Ryan & Rob. Pierre & Michel, Nabeela and Shahla, Jen & Shawn, and Pete and Mickey are the trailers on the 3rd flight.

The Roadblock clue at the bi-plane read, "Who wants to jump into the race?". I'm surprised at everyone who said they'd do it so quickly. I mean,... plane + "jump in" = that can't be good. One person from each team must skydive in tandem with a pro, making a jump from 12,0000 m, and land on Willows Beach. They will meet up with their teammates on the ground and get their next clue. The jump order is the order they arrived:

Natalie, Alain, Nicole, Bob, Sukhi, Jackie, Ryan, Jen, Pete, Shahla, and Pierre. The thing we learned here is that hockey players should stay on the ground. Natalie puked in the plane. Then she puked in the jump. Five times. (I call that a vapour trail). Then 11 more times...all the way to the last task. They get their next clue from the guy they just rode tandem with. Next stop is the arbutus tree outside of the Fairmont Empress Hotel, where they will find their next clue.

Another Roadlock. "Who's ready to get steeped in tradition?" The key word here is steeped.
One person from each team (the one who didn't skydive) must learn the social intricacies of the tradition of British High Tea. They are given etiquette lessons from Tea Room staff, and must memorize the menu selection. They then have to serve tea and recite the menu to a table of "Lords and Ladies" aka a room full of Downton Abbey wannabes. If they do it correctly, the Tea Master will give them their next clue. Here is what happened:
The service was acceptable, Mr. Carson.
  • Meaghan was the 1st in, and the 1st to finish.
  • Rex was 2nd there and 3rd to finish.
  • Cormac 3rd in, 5th out.
  • Audrey 4th in, 2nd out.
  • Laura 5th in, 5th out.
  • Jinder 6th in, 6th out.
  • Mickey 7th in, 7th out.
  • Rob 8th in, 8th out.
  • Nabeela 9th in, 10th out.
  • Shawn 10th in, 11th out.
  • Michel 11th in, 9th out. 
Rex, Cormac, Nabeela and Shawn lose time for their teams here. Audrey and Michel do very well and help their teams to pass others. The episode title comes from Bob who verbalizes his frustration over Rex's
Mickey - rockin the tea. (CTV)
performance, with "What's it take to get a cup of tea around here?". Slightly over-dramatic. I thought other quotes were more appropriate. Like Alain referring to the hockey girls completing the task quick: "I'm afraid of these women. It's like Terminator has arrived." Or Mickey, "You guys rock! I love your hat!" - then plants a big kiss on one of the ladies who looked like the Dowager Countess. Now that's entertainment!

The Tea Master's clue told them to head across the harbour to CFB Esquimalt's Damage Control School. (Note: There was a task that was edited out: teams had to extinguish a fire. I think that could have been the fire that we saw Laura and Jackie running past) The teams task was to plug 9 leaks in a sinking ship simulation chamber as it was quickly flooded by chilly water. They had to use all the tools supplied. Once done here, they had to race to the finish line at Fisgard Lighthouse. Here's what happened, team by team... 
  • Natalie and Meaghan: Despite Natalie having to puke again on the boat ride over, Natalie and Meaghan were in and out in first place. They reached the mat first and won 2 trips to anywhere in South America that Air Canada flies, $2,000 on a Scotia Bank card, and two Express passes (one for themselves and one they can give to another team before the end of the fifth leg). These two deserve the "Beast of the Episode Award".
  • Alain and Audrey: They were right behind the girls the whole episode. In the chamber, Audrey told Alain, a la Austin Powers to "close the frickin door." Alain also had a good line when he stated he no longer wanted to be in the army. They missed out on first place by mere minutes. Should have run faster guys.
  • Rex and Rob: In and out of the chamber, they end up in 3rd place.
  • Cormac and Nicole: Another strong team in the chamber, although they became confused a bit with having to use all the tools. 4th place at the mat.
  • Laura and Jackie: They thanked the guys at the base for saving peoples' lives. They were in and out, holding 5th place to the end.
  • Sukhi and Jinder: Another placeholder, they came in 6th.
  • Pete and Mickey: Didn't see much of them, but they finished 7th.
  • Pierre and Michel: They went into the chamber in 9th place, but had a strong performance and landed on the mat in 8th place.
  • Ryan and Rob: Went in ahead of the twins but slipped up a it. They were still safe and finished 9th.
  • Jen and Shawn: They went into the chamber after Shahla and Nabeela, believing they had their work cut out for them to beat out the girls. They caught a break and finished 10th.
  • Shahla and Nabeela: They went into the chamber ahead of Jen and Shawn, but ran into a problem. They dropped their tools twice, and Shahla had to immerse herself into the cold water to retrieve them. Once the cold gets to you, there is no return and hypothermia sets in. She started cramping up, had to be helped out and asked for a penalty. I don't think she realized they were done anyway. They were eliminated from the race.
Mystical, gold-medal unicorns. They can puke very politely too.
Who impressed me the most?

Of course I would have to say Natalie and Meaghan. Extremely focused. Did you catch Meaghan's bandaged hand when she was serving tea at the Empress? Yeah? Well, she had just had surgery on it due to the break she suffered during the Gold Medal game in Socchi. Alain referred to them as "The Terminators". Mickey and Pete thought they were some kind of mystical unicorns because the girls were so far ahead the whole leg.

Others I like are sweethearts Alain & Audrey. Some may call them the typical couple team, but I like their attitude and they had some great lines. I expect Pierre and Michel to improve their standings. Don't dismiss Ryan & Rob, Jinder & Sukhi, or Pete & Mickey either - I think these teams just haven't found their groove yet. When they out! I am also giving a nod to Nicole & Cormac and Laura & Jackie. These teams exceeded my expectations...a lot. Very strong female cast members...cheers to the lovely ladies of TARCda.

On the flip side, I am not that taken with Rex & Bob. Over-dramatic and way too in love with the camera to be a serious threat. At the Empress, Rex should have spent his time between attempts memorizing the menu instead of posing for the camera. Sure, they finished strong, but I expect them to burn out soon. As for Jen and Shawn...nice couple, but I don't hold much hope for them.

No spoilers here for the next episode. If you want those, check my home page later in the week for my preview.

Sorry, I had the Youtube video of Episode 1 here, but it was shut down, as I expected it to be. My best advice is to check Youtube the day after each episode airs. Don't try those sketchy "live stream" sites that always post links on Twitter.

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