Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Recap of Episode 7 "Lest We Forget" Amazing Race Canada 2

I have watched this episode 3 times now. Three times I have cried, hard. I have never cried this much over a reality TV show before. This episode NEEDS to be watched, and please watch it with the children in your lives.

It's another early morning start from the corner of Portage and Main in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Here are the start times for this leg:

Pierre and Michel 6:13 am
Alain and Audrey 6:24
Mickey and Pete 6:44
Sukhi and Jinder 6:46
Natalie and Meaghan 6:52
Ryan and Rob 7:55

The teams must make their way to Normandy, France. Jon explains the importance of this area to all Canadians. This year marks the 100th anniversary of WWI, and the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings - June 6th, 1944. I must interject here to explain the relevance... this episode was filmed about 3 weeks before the 70th anniversary. Jon then announces that this episode is dedicated to the brave soldiers that fought so bravely for our country.

Jinder is back to being his buoyant self and yells out "Bonjour!" when he learns they are bound for France, and Ryan explains this will be his 4th time there. There is a bit of friction between Pierre & Michel and Alain & Audrey at the airport. When Audrey congratulates the twins for winning the last leg, Pierre and Michel (in a latter ITM) call the couple hypocrites because the couple have not talked to them at all in the 6 previous legs. Oh, oh. You can be assured that this is a bit of foreshadowing for the next couple of legs.

Once in Paris, they must drive to the Normandy region and find Boulard Calvados Distillery for their next clue. No, it's not wine. Normandy produces very little, and have been known for their apple cider since the Middle Ages. The alcoholic variety of course. In this case, it's the cider brandy distilled by the Boulard family since 1825. It looks just as beautiful as you would imagine a French distillery to be.  The clue is for a Roadblock, "Who wants to give it their 40 percent?" One team member must take a sample of fermented cider from a specific barrel. They must then dilute it to the industry standard of 40% alcohol by volume. Measure volume and temperature, calculate specific gravity, determine the alcohol content then calculate the amount of water needed to dilute. I have only one question. WHAT? I am having nightmarish flashbacks to high school science. Here is what happened:
  • Pierre and Michel are the second team to arrive. Pierre does this task because he handles the waste water at the family business. I don't even want to think of waste water at a slaughter house and I am not even sure how this would relate to cider. Just the math factor I am sure. He gets it right away and they leave the Roadblock in 1st place.
  • Sukhi and Jinder are the 4th to arrive here but thanks to Jinder's molecular biology background, they jump into 2nd place. They celebrate rather vocally as you would expect, and we hear Ryan say "Ferme la bouche!" with an accent just as bad as mine, and with the attitude of a guy taking his final exam in Chemistry.
  • Natalie and Meaghan. They were the first team here. Meaghan decides to do this one even though her degree is in Marketing. She makes 5 attempts then realizes her calculations have been incorrect because she was using the wrong tools. Her 6th attempt puts them in 3rd.
  • Alain and Audrey. They arrive here in 5th place but Audrey gets this on her 1st attempt and they leave in 4th.
  • Ryan and Rob get themselves lost along the way and get here last. Ryan takes this on. During his first attempt, he comes to the same conclusion that he is using the wrong tools, then corrects it and gets it. On their way out, they help Pete with some advice.
  • Mickey and Pete were the third team to arrive. When they read the clue they thought it may involve drinking rather than anything technical, so an excited Pete took this challenge. Poor Dudes. Pete says, "Numbers are not my friend", while Mickey comes to the conclusion that he should have done this one because of his Accounting degree. Say what? Okay. Who'd have thunk that one? Pete takes 9 attempts and the Dudes leave in last place.
The next clue tells the teams to make their way to the village of Le Molay Littrey and find their next clue outside the Town Hall in the square. This is for the Detour, "Show it" or "Tell It". Show It is grooming a horse and french braiding its mane together with red yarn. It's a Percheron horse, a mainstay of the Normandy region, bred for work but often used for show. In Tell It, the teams must go into Bayeaux and yes, you guessed it, this task is centered around the famous Bayeaux Tapestry. It depicts the story of William the Conqueror's victory in the Battle of Hastings in 1066. YES! I thought this would play into the episode. They must take 9 images from the tapestry, and based on the written information provided on plaques, place them in the sequence of events. The thing to know is that the clue box in the village is not near the actual tasks.
  • Natalie and Meaghan arrive third at the clue box in the village and immediately decide on Tell it. They get their first attempt wrong, then realize their mistake, correct and jump into the lead.
  • Pierre and Michel are the first to arrive at the clue box and pick Show it because they grew up riding horses. They call themselves the 'airdressers to the 'orses. They believe their horse is a little nervous. I can't blame it. They decide against this task and switch to Tell it. They are in second place
  • Sukhi and Jinder get to the clue box second. They decide on Show It but have difficulty finding the farm and start to bicker a bit. Jinder is a bit nervous about the horse and wants to know if it bites, then asks the judge, "Mange?" Sukhi does the braiding because as Jinder puts it, "has experience with her long hair." I don't think Sukhi liked that her hair was compared to a horse's mane. They leave in third.
  • Alain and Audrey arrive in fourth place and Audrey does the braiding because she has French braided her sister's hair. She just has difficulty working the red yarn in. They leave in 4th.
  • Mickey and Pete beat Ryan and Rob to the clue box in town. They decide to do Show It. Why? Mickey explains that to do shop in school, he also had to do Cosmetology. And he is a bit embarrassed about it. They pick out a fine young filly and they call it their new French girlfriend. Apparently the horse didn't mind the attention. Mickey braids the mane while Pete becomes the horse whisperer and keeps her calm. They leave in 5th, but are a bit sad over leaving the girlfriend behind.
  • Ryan and Rob. Oh dear. First of all, they arrive at the cluebox after the Dudes whom they just helped at the distillery. That had to hurt. Then they can't find the farm. In fact, they get very lost. Even though they know they are way behind the others, they still maintain their composure and humour. Rob does the braiding because he has done his sister's hair. Ryan tells Rob he is growing his hair so Rob can soon braid it. They are in last.
From here they must make their way to Asnelles and the beach. They get to do a little bit of land-sailing. They must do 10 laps of a slalom loop, and seem to have fun. ll the teams arrive and leave in the same one changes placements. However, Pierre and Michel are a bit pissed off to learn that they are trailing Natalie and Meaghan...they thought they were in the lead. At this point, Ryan and Rob feel like they are having the worst day ever. In their ITM, Ryan says if they had a TV show it would be called, "Getting Lost and Hating Yourself", while Rob thinks it should be "Taking the Wrong Way With Ryan and Rob". Actually, it would probably be a great show. I would watch that. 

From here, the teams are directed to the Beny-sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery. If you are able to watch this episode, this is where you have to go get the Kleenex. Each team pauses and reflects on where they are. They read the plaque and all are brought to tears. This is the final resting place of 2,049 Canadian soldiers who died during the D-Day landings and the Battle of Normandy. They walk among the tombstones. Mickey and Pete take note that the majority of the men who died were younger than themselves. Sukhi realizes it could have been Jinder here.

At this point they are given a poppy and told to give it to the soldier in front of the Juno Beach Canadian War Centre. One of the centre's guides is there, dressed in uniform (Jim Parks, the greeter with Jon helped to dress this young man). he gives the teams a verbal clue: "Thank you. You can make your way to the beach where you can find Jon at the mat." Standing next to Jon is Jim Parks, the D-Day veteran. (you can start crying now, it's okay)

Jim Parks: "Welcome to Juno Beach. This is where the Canadian soldiers landed on D-Day. I landed here myself, not 150 yards from where you are standing. We lost 359 soldiers along this beach. This is very privileged ground that you are on."

There were some incredible moments, but the best by far were with Mickey and Pete. Jon asked Jim if he ever had any boys with hair like this. Jim's reply was, "Oh yeah. Get a hair cut. I'm standing on your hair." I think Pete may have regretted wearing his "Long hair, don't care" T-shirt that day, but I am sure Jim understood. 

Here are the final standings for this leg:
  1. Natalie and Meaghan rebound with another win, much to Pierre and Michel's dismay. They win two trips to any destination in Europe that Air Canada flies, and another $3,000 on a Scotiabank American Express card.
  2. Pierre and Michel. They say how they finish doesn't matter compared to where they are.
  3. Mickey and Pete
  4. Sukhi and Jinder
  5. Alain and Audrey
  6. Ryan and Rob hit the mat last. It's now sunset. After their bad luck all day, they finally catch a break. This is a Non-Elimination Leg. Of course I knew this way back when it was filmed...Ryan and Rob were seen doing the Speed Paris.