Thursday, 6 August 2015

Amazing Race Canada 3 Episode 5 "The Face Off" OR How to Milk a Bull and Live to Tell About It

Yes...this was one helluva damn good episode. It was crafted with all the things we fans absolutely love: bad choices; suspense; a team losing first place because they got lost; strategy on the U-Turn. I could go on. And yet...

I have to say this new Face Off thing was a bit of a flop, but mostly because of unforeseen circumstances combined with the non-threat of a 4 hour penalty that a couple of teams were willing to take. And I have a lot to say about that - in a bit. And in many ways the REAL Face Off seemed to be shooting off one-liners among the teams, which really put this episode over the top.

The start times out of Halifax were very early. Or very late, depending on your point of view:

Dujean & Leilani   1:30 AM
Brian & Cynthia   1:51
Nick & Matt   2:36
Sean & Brent   2:52
Simi & Ope   3:31
Neil & Kristen 3:32
Gino & Jesse 3:39
Nic & Sabrina   4:14

Typical Plage victim
 (yes I know it's really Phage!)
A little bit more spread out since last week, but still close. And I think it's safe to say that Hamilton and Michaelia would not have been saved by their Express Pass last week IF they still had it. Even if they used it as soon as they discovered the passport missing. The teams must make their way to Les Iles de la Madeleine (aka the Magdalene Islands) and once there must load their Chevy Colorados (or is it Coloradoes? Oh crap, I don't care!) with camp gear and 2 kayaks. Gee...I wonder what those kayaks are for? Then, it's off to Plage de la Dune du Sud. Wait a minute. Plage? Isn't that the disease the Vidiians had in Star Trek Voyager? You know...those weirdos that stole Neelix' lungs?

Moving on.

And what else do you expect to do at a beach? Play in the sand, of course. The task is a Roadblock called "Who's the King of the castle?" One member from each team must bury their partner in the sand, then construct a sand castle around them.

Okay, before I go any further I have to tell you the low was 1.6C (35F) and the high was 6.6C (44F) the day this episode was filmed (May 11). That is a cold spring day if you live inland, but on the the water-soaked the Gulf of St. Lawrence? That's a different story altogether. It's the kind of weather that can really sneak up on you. Not to mention the fact that the person being buried had to lay down in a water-filled hole.

Screencap from Nick's dream.
Gino takes this one and compares building sandcastles to his experience in home renovations. Yeah. Kind of. He says the key is to keep the sand wet. Matt gets to bury Nick who says, "I've had dreams that end like this." I am sure. Kind of like when Ted Danson is murdered in Creepshow. Spoiler alert: Leslie Nielson did it. Oh, wait! Canadian connection! Meanwhile Brian decides this is a good time to confide to all of Canada that he and Cynthia are "married, with no kids, but we still like to boink." I LOVE this guy! Of course he is complaining about Cynthia throwing the cold sand on him, the cold sand pressing around his junk and how this isn't good for guys. Or anyone really. The cold is starting to affect everyone. Even big, tough Nick is shivering, and after several failed attempts, Kristen is hardest hit. Hypothermia sets in and they have to take a run to the hospital. She is given crutches but her ability to compete in more challenges is compromised.

Time for Face Off!
On to the Monument aux Pechers - a statue dedicated to fishermen, where the clue reads "It's time for a Face Off!" No, it's not that T.V. show about movie make-up. Nor is it that Nicholas Cage/John Travolta face switcheroo movie. In the Face off, the first two teams to arrive must play against each other. The winning team proceeds with the Race, while the loser must wait for the next team to arrive and play against them. This continues until only one team remains and they are given a time penalty. Kayak Hockey is the sport of choice for this round of Face Off, which was invented right here on the islands. (it's also a lot like surfboard soccer, which was invented somewhere else) Teams must score 2 goals to win the Face Off and move on. It's interesting to note that Jon does not tell us the length of the time penalty given to the last team. You can read what you want into that.

Gino & Jesse 2, Brian & Cynthia 0
Brian & Cynthia 2, Ope & Simi 0
Ope & Simi 0, Nick & Matt 2
Ope & Simi 0, Sean & Brent 2
Ope & Simi 0, Dujean & Leilani 2

Then everything falls apart with the Face Off. Simi & Ope decide to take a four hour penalty because hypothermia has set in with them as well. And there are no other teams showing up for them to compete against. Neil & Kristen - with Kristen on crutches, also take the penalty. That only leaves Nic and Sabrina and by the time they get to the Face Off, there is no one left to battle. They are allowed to move on. No time penalty. I am sure production never thought of this scenario, but it came across as if they were flying by the seat of their pants with this challenge. Just seems to me that Nic and Sabrina should have been given that penalty, after all getting there last equates to being the losers.

From here the teams head to the Detour called "Ride It or Pull It." In Ride it, teams had to emulate the sport of dressage and navigate a horse through an obstacle field. To be successful, they had to have a combined time under 8 minutes. In Pull It, teams had to roll a large bale of hay into the barn, then milk a cow (each team member had to milk one litre). Neither task is particularly difficult (unless you are suffering from hypothermia), BUT this is also the 2X U-Turn.

Farm livin' is the life for me. Or not.
And the farm chores side of the Detour is also the site of the best one-liners of the night compliments of people that apparently don't belong on farms. This scenario is actually very common in TAR and I think that's why farm tasks are always thrown into the mix. Brian and Cynthia are the first to arrive. Brian says he "has never milked a bull before, but there's a first time for everything." Well now. Truer words have never been spoken. Seems to me if you did try to milk a bull, you may not live to tell about it. Unless of course you accidentally grabbed something else and made that bull <ahem> very happy and peaceful. More funny moments from other teams. So much so, that I am just going to add a best quotes section for the whole episode at the end of this post. The only teams that chose to do the dressage were Dujean & Leilani and Neil & Kristen.

How the heck did Kristen and Ope make it up these stairs?
The U-Turn board is at Cap aux Meules. One hundred and eighty-five steps up to the top of the lookout. There are 3 reasons to U-Turn someone: To ensure you win the leg; to force someone to use their Express Pass; and to save yourself from being eliminated. Brian and Cynthia beat Gino and Jesse to the U-Turn board. They contemplate using it to slow down Gino and Jesse and guarantee a win this leg. They don't. Bzzzzz. Wrong! Gino and Jesse are next. They aren't as diplomatic, and decide to U-Turn the other brothers, Sean and Brent. They think it will force them to use that Express Pass. But Sean and Brent have no intention of using it just yet. They persevere through the dressage, but not before U-Turning Nic and Sabrina. Sean and Brent get some words of encouragement from Dujean and Leilani who have just finished the dressage. Meanwhile, Neil and Kristen rest a while. Kristen doubts her ability to use her leg muscles to guide the horse. Got to give props to Kristen here for continuing. If you have never had hypothermia, you can't possibly understand the pain and cramping which can take hours to shake off. It's horrible. And Neil was the perfect Dad here. All for his daughter, the heck with the race. Unbelievably, they make it through.

Now for the Nic and Sabrina story. In case you are wondering, they were still not finished the sandcastle when Brian and Cynthia were on their way to the Pitstop. (if we can believe the edit) Geesh.  The sun is setting when they get to the U-Turn board, and by the time they get to the dressage, it is completely dark out. They are told it is too dangerous (for the horses that is) and they must wait out a pre-determined time before they are allowed to continue to the Pitstop. AGAIN, we are not told the time frame here....damn it! So with that in mind, here is what happened at the Pitstop, located at Pointe Old Harry on Grosse-Iles:

Gino & Jesse win the leg. They get two round-trip fares anywhere in Canada that Air Canada flies. PetroCanada has upped their prize package to a full year of free gas. Nice.
Brian & Cynthia come in second, delayed by getting a bit lost on the way to the Pitstop. I am sure they regret not using that U-Turn on the guys.
Nick & Matt are third. AGAIN. The good news is they still have the best track record and the best average placement. So there's that.
Dujean & Leilani, fourth.
Brent & Sean, fifth. Great performance despite being U-Turned.

Now, about the fiasco resulting from the Face Off and those penalties.

Neil & Kristen and Ope & Simi hit the mat in 6th and 7th place respectively, but both must wait out their four hour penalties.
Nic & Sabrina hobble in. Geesh. What a mess. Jon tells them they are last, but because of the other teams' penalties, they are officially in 6th place.
That puts Neil & Kristen in 7th, and Ope & Simi in last place.


No it's not an NEL (Non-Elimination Leg). It's a KOR - a Keep On Racing. And yes, there is a difference. An NEL comes with a Speedbump penalty on the next leg. KOR doesn't, and they continue on their way with no mandatory overnight rest. These teams are going to be beat. Their only rest will be in airports and on the plane to Sudbury, Ontario. Thankfully, it will be a bit of a haul with several connections. Note to anyone who wants to apply for this show: learn to sleep wherever you can.
Go now...go to Sudbury!
And now without further ado, here are the promised quotes:

Brian & Cynthia on their way to the Face Off
"Married. No kids. But still like to boink." Brian, at Roadblock
"I've buried my daughter semi-live. Hasn't stopped her from talking." Neil, at Roadblock
"I've had dreams that end like this." Nick, at Roadblock
"My ass muscles are clenched. I could crack a coconut with these." Brian, at Roadblock
"Punch it Chewie!" Brian, on the way to the Face Off
"I've never milked a bull. There's a first time for everything." Brian, at Detour
"Kayak Hockey? It's like the leg from hell." Sean, at Face Off
"Come on, Gino. Work those nipples." Jesse, at Detour
"Come on hun. Get on that tit." Brian, at Detour
"This is like a Mini-Wheat to the Wrestlers." Sean, at Detour
"Euwww. That one's dropping patties." Sean, at Detour

I Live Tweet every week during the 9 P.M. Eastern airing of the show. So, if you see me, say "Hi!" Follow along using #AmazingRaceCanada, but following me would be better! I don't always use the hashtag! And I NEVER tweet out spoilers!