Thursday, 7 July 2016

Episode 2 Review & Recap: Deal Guys? Deal. Deal. DEAL WITH IT.

We resume our narrative in Jasper Alberta with a late-night/early morning Pitstart. Next stop...Calgary.

The start times are:
Jillian & Emmett 12:56 AM
Steph & Kristen 1:45 AM (+49 minutes behind 1st place)
Stephane & Antoine 4:32 AM (+ 3hrs, 36 mins behind 1st)
... and are on the first bus.
Joel & Ashley 4:35 AM (+3 hrs, 39mins behind 1st place)
Julie & Lowell 6:11 AM (+5hrs, 15mins behind 1st)
Frankie & Amy 6:13 AM (+5hrs, 17mins behind 1st)
... and are on the second bus.
Rita & Yvette 6:27 AM (+5hrs, 31mins behind 1st place)
Anne & Tanya 629 AM (+5hrs, 33mins behind 1st)
Kelly & Kate 6:56 (+6hrs behind 1st)
... and are on the third bus.

So (not accounting for travel time between pitstart and bus location) the first bus left sometime after 4:32 AM; the second sometime after 6:27 AM; and the third after 6:56 AM. Even though the Leg 1 Pitstop times were separated by 6 hours, the buses became a semi-equalizer, with only 2 hours separating first and last place. Also note only 49 minutes separated Jillian & Emmett/Steph & Kristen's start times.

Teams are dropped off at Calgary City Hall and must find Mayor Naheed Nenshi, who will give them their next clue - a picture clue of a sculpture called Neverland, along with "get ready to be part of the energy."
I feel like this might mean something. The sculpture that is.
This sculpture is in front of the Bow Building. Now you would think a giant head like that could at least give them a spoken clue. Maybe something like:
"Hey guys! Go to the big, tall thing that Toronto copied and made bigger. Cos ya know, they've always gotta be bigger. Ha ha ha, I know, right?  Overcompensate much? Hey, but before you go, could you me a favour and scratch my nose? I can't tell you how long it's been bugging me. I think I'm allergic to pigeons. Nasty, little, filthy, judgmental peckers they are."
The Roadblock is in fact at the Calgary Tower. Built in 1967 for Canada's Centennial, it is 5 years older than Toronto's CN Tower. The clue reads: "Who feels like they are in control?" Jillian and Emmett get there first, and as Jillian puts it, "Emmett's going to feel like he's in control." The operative word being "FEEL" turns that whole phrase into a comment rather than statement. TPTB walked her right into that one, but too bad Jillian missed the punchline.

Also doing the Roadblock: Kristen; Antoine; Joel; Lowell; Frankie; Anne; Yvette; and Kelly. Pretty standard height challenge. Maybe we've seen so many of them, we've developed a Reality TV immunity to them. The best moments are:

Emmett tells Jillian the harness did a number on him. He thinks he can no longer have children. Should Jillian care about this... if they are exes?
Joel: Ashley tells the story of how she asked Joel to be her Dad. Thanks Ashley, I think I missed the next 5 minutes of the show after my eyes started leaking.
Lowell: He can see his house in Lethbridge from the tower. Oh and thank you Lowell for the height-challenge-goofy-face!
Anne sings Happy Birthday to her son, proving she can sing and was an opera singer.
Kelly gets a rash where it counts, from the harness.

Meanwhile, the tower's mascot - the aptly named Seefar, hands out the next clue. Teams must use social media to locate the Beatnik Bus. It's a store on wheels, and being a store on wheels, it's not going to sit still too long. In fact, it moves every 10 minutes. I wonder if there is a 10 minute idling bylaw in Calgary? Anyway, once teams find the bus, they must listen to a local musician who hands them their next clue...only after they hear his whole song.

Emmett & Jillian and Steph & Kristen bunch up here, and just as they come up to the bus...yep, it pulls off. So they have to locate it again. But the funniest team was Rita and Yvette who seem to get themselves in a real pickle. They stop some poor schmuck who just happens to be carrying a guitar case and ask, "Are you a performer? Are we looking for you?" I don't know who was more confused...the twins or the guitar guy. I really wanted this guy to say, "I am not for you." Not getting the answer they needed, they run off and find a Calgary transit call box. I have no idea if the call box is considered social media, or if it's an info call box or security call box. But I do know it is not bigger inside. They call and ask about the location of the Beatnik Bus. Strangely enough, they get the answer.

The next clue is the Detour along with the Express Pass. There are two Express Passes up for grabs at Calgary Boy Vinyl. The team who completes the task first wins both - one for them and one to give to another team. The passes are located in a crate of newly pressed vinyl records, which must be inserted into record sleeves. Nice old-school use of milk-crates, I must say. Emmett, Jillian, Steph and Kristen agree to work together to get the Express Pass, the team who finds it will give the 2nd pass to the other.

"Deal, guys?"
"Deal. Deal. Deal. Deal. Deal. Deal."
Good God. It sounded like a broken record.

It's a simple plan. It's a good plan. They can get the task done in half the time. There's just one wee little problem.....

Jillian didn't see the Detour Clue that came with the Express Pass. 

So, while on their way in the cab to the EP location at Calgary Boy Vinyl, Jillian notes the Detour has to be done, and changes her mind about the deal. They head off to the Detour. Meanwhile, Steph and Kristen go through EIGHT FULL CRATES all by their lonesome selves before finding the passes. They say Jillian and Emmett not showing up to help is a deal breaker.

The Detour is a choice called Sim or Swim.  Sim is at S.A.I.T. (Southern Alberta Institute of Technology), and involves learning to operate a crane simulator, then negotiating a heavy weight through an obstacle course. Both team members must do it, and get a combined time under 6 minutes. Swim is at the Sam Livingston Fish Hatchery. Teams must coral hundreds of trout in a pond and move them to a submerged cage. They can't leave a single fish behind.

The Pitstop is at Studio Bell, home of the National Music Centre.

Jillian and Emmett: Take first place again, and win a trip for two to Paris, France. Jillian notes the girls - Steph and Kristen, might not want to work with them anymore. Then goes on to say they may be able to convince Steph and Kristen to give them the other Express Pass. Yeah, I really don't think that's going to happen there, Jill. But I can forgive you for thinking so...I recognize production prompting when I see it. They chose the Swim Detour task, and there was more squealing from Jill when the fish proved to be slippery. Emmett just ignores her when she goes full-squeal. If Jillian gets this frazzled when they are on top, I really need to see what happens when they are fighting to stave off elimination. Don't hate me, but I need to see this just once.
Stephane and Antoine: are second in a near perfect leg. I can't wait to see the departure times for the next episode, just to see how far behind these guys were from Emmett and Jillian. We also saw some of that parent/child role reversal (which Antoine mentioned previously) while they were at the Swim Detour task. Stephane was the one who was losing it while Antoine kept his cool and stayed in control. Well mostly. But hey, it's all cool with these two, and all the teams got a little freaked over the fishes. You have to love their Victory Dance.
Frankie and Amy: Third. We didn't see a lot from these two in this episode, and that needs to change. Considering they were the 6th team to leave the Pitstart in Jasper - and were on the 2nd bus, this third place finish was impressive. These two got a bit frazzled at the Swim Detour and I almost felt like they were on the verge of an eye roll moment. And did you hear that cackle from Frankie? Maybe she was trying to herd the fish by emitting seal sounds. Good strategy!
Joel and Ashley: Fourth. Another team who ran a near perfect leg, but unfortunately they didn't move up in the standings from last week. Maybe they just need to pick up the pace a bit. They chose to do the Sim Detour task, and were the only team to stick with it and not switch. After taking their time learning the touchy controls, they got it on the first attempt.
Anne and Tanya take 5th. Their highlight of the episode was Anne singing Happy Birthday to her son while rappelling off the Calgary Tower. They were practically invisible the rest of the episode. What's up with that?
Steph and Kristen are 6th. All things considered, an impressive showing. They went for the Express Pass and got it. Going through 8 crates of records had to take a long time. They lost more time switching Detour tasks. Just FYI: the Sim task was a fair distance from the Swim task, and the other activities. It was still a good idea to switch and they immediately recognized their lack of skill on the simulator.
Julie and Lowell are 7th. I am a bit disappointed they didn't do better on this leg because they are a very entertaining team. Okay, I admit I have a soft spot for them. Nothing seems to fluster them and they keep the stress levels at bay with humour. The highlight was their pun-war at the Swim task.
Rita and Yvette are 8th. You have to love the twin's misadventures, especially with the Beatnik Bus. At the Detour, they chose to do Sim, then switch to Swim. The last ones to arrive, they catch up to Kelly and Kate and finish a few minutes after. A cab chase to the Pitstop ensues, and the twins beat Kelly and Kate to the mat with a classic footrace. In their confessional, they do that twin-thing and say in unison, "We gotta run!"
Kelly and Kate are 9th, but are saved by a rare Leg 2 Non-Elimination. They also switched Detour tasks from Sim to Swim, apparently because playing video games are bad and aren't good for Kate's false eyelashes. Is it only a matter of time for Kelly and Kate?
The's a real and observable thing.

Notes and Observations:

  • Yes, we have been to Calgary before. But please note one thing. There has never been a complete leg there. The S1 leg was split with Drumheller, and the S2 appearance was a zipline Route Marker task. So we were due.
  • Some of the post-leg confessionals were held at Fort Calgary, a venue not visited during the leg. I have noticed they tend to do this when the Pitstop is indoors - and they still want the confessionals filmed outdoors.
  • They are really trying to promote a Steph & Kristen vs. Jillian & Emmett rivalry that isn't
    really of leg 2, that is. If you watch the extra vids on the show's site, you'll see there really isn't any rivalry and the four took the deal-breaker move rather easily. DRATS! But as long as that edit exists, I am going to play it up. Just like I am going to make fun of Jillian's squawking and screeching, because I know the edit is concentrating on it. Don't like it? I suggest...Deal with it.  
  • And speaking of Jillian and Emmett... Update on the Relationship-Watch: What is going on with all the "Honey"s, the hand-holding, and other mixed signals? One extra video is Jillian saying she loves him (was that meant to be in a platonic sort of way?) while another extra is Jillian commenting Emmett is "single and ready to mingle" when he strips down for the Swim task. Pick a relationship status, guys! You're killing all your shippers out there. Keep this up and you're going to force me to down the Ross & Rachel 'We were on a break'-road.
  • Start watching for possible Final Memory Task elements. Shall it be sculptures? Or maybe a location-specific phrase. Mayor Nenshi's greeting, "Get ready to be part of the energy", along with the Neverland sculpture kind of stood out like a sore thumb. Remember the First Nations greeting in Yellowknife, and even the task to translate the phrase? Hmmn. Let's see where this goes.

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