Friday, 9 September 2016

Preview of "Second Place Isn't Good Enough"

It's here.
Yeppers. The finale of The Amazing Race Canada's fourth season is upon us.

There are SPOILERS ahead. Do I really have to warn you?

So, if you've been watching the entire season, you could pretty much guess we would be left with Jillian & Emmett, Steph & Kristen and Joel & Ashley as our F3 in the end game. You certainly would not have predicted this outcome pre-season. I know that some of you would have had Anthony and Brandon, Stephane and Antoine or Frankie and Amy in that mix somewhere.

But no. That's not the way it played out. And except for that little blip with the Stephane & Antoine elimination order, I have been right all season. I've gotten you down to the Final 3. Spoilers have been good this season. Very good. In fact, this season was the easiest yet.

As for the finale...
Here are the original spoilers from live sightings:
  • The finale was filmed Tuesday, May 24, 2016. (production delayed filming for the Victoria Day holiday Monday) Teams were seen departing from the Saint John, New Brunswick Hilton early that morning. Teams flew into Montreal via Halifax and Toronto.
  • Helicopters were used to film establishing shots of Montreal, and I think it's safe to say they also followed teams in the customary race to the finish line.
  • Crews were spotted taking down the rigging for the task at the Biosphere - the dome from the Expo '67 site.
  • One team was spotted (somewhere) in Little Italy, trying unsuccessfully to hail a cab. When the witness told them to call an Uber, the girl yelled back, "We can't!"
  • Emmett and Jillian were spotted outside of St-Viateur Bagel Shop, which is very close to the above sighting.
  • Teams were spotted in the Old Port.
  • Mont Royal was closed to the public, specifically the Belvedere Lookout and Chalet Kondiaronk. Some people, hoping to go up to the popular lookout were told there was a mayonnaise commercial being filmed.
In French or English, this sign fooled no one.
All of these sightings made me feel great because I predicted not only Montreal as the final leg, but Mont Royal as the finish line. Now, let's look at the info from the preview and sneak peek:
  • The Biosphere task is a high-wire Roadblock, and probably the first stop. There is one just like this in every season finale. [S1 was the L Tower, Toronto; S2 was the Museum of Natural History, Ottawa; S3 was B.C. Place, Vancouver] In fact, this one looks very similar to the S2 task. Emmett, Steph and Joel do this one. (edited)
  • St-Viateur Bagel task is also a Roadblock. It appears teams must put on chefs' uniforms and deliver spikes of bagels. It also looks like the team member who didn't do the Biosphere Roadblock will have to do this, so it will be Jillian, Kristen and Ashley. (edited)
  • There is a screencap of Steph and Kristen running into the Cirque du Soleil headquarters, although the actual task may be next door at Ecole Nationale de Cirque. There are three individual maneuvers, with each  team member required to do at least one of the tasks. (In other words, no one teammate can do all 3)
  • The Bank of Montreal in Old Montreal (which is the original bank & Museum) is shown in the preview, and teams are seen searching for information in a reference book. Perhaps figure out distances or days traveled. There are also shots of the final memory challenge which appears to be some sort of computerized/digital puzzle. The preview has a quick shot of a screen with Canada, Vietnam and Cuba, so they must have to match events, objects or locales to each leg - with the correct solution giving them the final clue directing them to the finish line. For one split second, we see what could be the Havana Pitstop greeter...but that's just my guess. I only suspect these two things (the book & the digital map) are part of the same task, and I will update this if I find out otherwise. 
  • Shots of Emmett and Jillian running up Mont Royal, presumably towards the finish line.
What day were we in Prince Rupert???

Sounds like a great finale. Right? Oh, sure. So, see you then!

Oh. Wait.
You're asking WHO WINS?

Okay then. Let's look at our options.

First of all, let's look at the stats of each of the F3.
Impressive, right?
Okay, now throw it out. No, really. I mean it. It's totally meaningless. Any one of these teams could win. Did we learn nothing from Mickey and Pete?

Joel and Ashley
After seeing the edits of the three teams at the Leg 10 Pitstop, I would have sworn come hell or high water that Joel and Ashley would be the winners. They are also incredible when it comes to attention to detail, a necessity in the final memory challenge. Then came the post-episode 10 Amy vs Ashley shitstorm on Twitter - the fallout from Ashley going to the dark side and deceiving poor innocent Frankie and Amy.(***see my thoughts on that below.)
But wait, there's more. Apparently, Amy couldn't let it go. She then tweeted, "@AshCallingbull you're a fake bitch who I thought was my friend. Good luck in the finale." Don't you love Twitter feuds? I do. But I love, love, love it when you don't even have to read between the lines. Like this one. It tells me one thing, and that is...Joel and Ashley don't win. Amy just couldn't hold the sarcasm back, wishing Ashley good luck for an outcome Amy already knows. She deleted it after the damage was done - an action that only adds to the theory. Unless of course we have a secret fake-out here. And if that is the case, I say well-played. Well played, indeed.

Jillian and Emmett
Oh sure, you could go with the speculation that points out the fact that Emmett recently started a new business, including construction of a building. Takes money, they say. Like the kind one would get from being a co-winner of TARC. But Emmett is not poor. He's money-smart, successful, and makes local and national TV appearances. Next theory, please. Well, you could argue that production has - out of necessity, repeatedly tried to put a good spin on all the Jemmett shortcomings. You know what I'm talking about. All the bickering, the whining, the gameplay, etc, etc. For me, Jillian and Emmett's edit at the Leg 10 Pitstop was "winner-friendly." A little too winner-friendly, and a definite attempt to misdirect. Jon seemed to go on about what Jillian and Emmett needed to do to win. Here's another thought. There are two shots in the preview that are of interest. The first is the podium at the finish line, with teams gathered and cheering on the winners. The second is of Jillian and Emmett running up the road to the top of Mont Royal. Here's where we get picky. Look at the shadows. Yes, that's right, the shadows. (trust me, this is not the first time fans have done this) In my opinion, the shadows cast by Jillian and Emmett are a bit longer than those of the teams at the finish line. So, I got to say, it will be close but Jillian and Emmett do not win. Unless of course, it's all been a secret double-fake out trick. Or maybe, just maybe, those podium shots were of Jon and the teams rehearsing or setting up the winner's run. And if that's the case, I say, fool me twice, shame on me.

Steph and Kristen
You could say production has done the same thing with Steph and Kristen as they did with Jillian and Emmett, putting a good spin on their shortcomings too. And you'd be right. Like the whole thing about the Express Pass lies and the no U-Turn deal with Ashley. Jon's Pitstop winner talk with the girls wasn't quite as blatant as the one he had with Jemmett. Then there was all that talk and promotion about Steph and Kristen being the first all-female team to win. The thing is, Steph and Kristen have proven to be the best team this season, and they seem to keep their shit together when Emmett and Jillian panic and fall apart. Their only bad placement was when they went for the Express Pass in Calgary. So yeah, I would have to give the advantage to them. Yes, today I shall say Steph and Kristen win season 4. I think Steph and Kristen will succeed where my beloved S2 Hockey Girls failed.

That's today. Ask me again before the finale next Tuesday, and I may have a different opinion.

*** Oh, and one more thing. My thoughts on "The Incident" because like Amy, I can't let it go. Besides, I was away when it all went down. Why do I always miss the good bits?

What happened? Amy, helped by Frankie, learned the latin names of the plants. When the judge told Amy she used the wrong language, Frankie read the clue again. "Your answer must include the entire English name of each plant." BUT THEN FRANKIE SECOND GUESSED THE CLUE, saying "I don't know if you have to do both or just the English." Frankie, Frankie, Frankie! The judge specifically told Amy she was using the wrong language!

Tired and with her nerves obviously frazzled, Frankie asked Ashley if they had to give both names for each plant. Ashley told her they did, then added Steph and Kristen did as well.

Frankie and Amy asked for help and took advice from a F4 competitor. It's the penultimate leg, for Christ sakes! We aren't talking leg 5 in Prince Rupert when Amy asked for help too. (For the record, I always cringe when a team asks for help, even in the early legs. It just seems so ugly and awkward.) Do I really have to explain how bad asking for help or taking advice is at this stage of the game? Sure, it was an act of desperation, it was hard to watch and I felt sorry for them, but it was still a bad idea.

Ashley did it. She went to the dark side. Ashley intentionally deceived Frankie and Amy to insure her and Joel's survival. Some have rightfully argued that Jillian and Emmett would have made a better target. They are a far stronger team than Frankie and Amy. But, Jillian and Emmett - who were also struggling with the specifics of the clue, never asked for help. So trying to deceive Jillian and Emmett was never an option. What if Ashley had actually helped Frankie and Amy instead? You could argue such a move would have resulted in a Jillian and Emmett elimination. Now that would have been the smart move, albeit very risky, because Joel was still attempting the task.
Was Ashley's move a great idea? Meh, probably not. Frankie & Amy and Jillian & Emmett were in bad shape anyway at that point. Would I have done the same thing?
Although I might have wimped out and gone with a much more innocent sounding, "I don't know" or "we don't understand the clue either." And you have to know that Ashley didn't arrive at the roadblock thinking, "Today, I am going to screw someone over real bad." The opportunity was handed to her and she took advantage of it. To me, that's the end of the story. It is - as fans say time and time again, A GAME. For cash and prizes. There are no friends "in the race." Not even in the Canadian version. So when Amy pulled the "I thought you were my friend"-card, it kind of grated on my nerves. Having said that, I think we're going to see a great "After the Race" recap show, the likes of which we haven't seen since season 2 when Rex dropped the F-bomb at Pierre and Michel. Can't wait.


  1. I think you may have the roadblocks reversed for Steph and Kristen. In the preview you can see Steph standing waiting with Joel and Emmett meaning that Kristen is doing the bagel roadblock and Steph does the Biosphere roadblock. This may also give them an advantage as I believe Kristen is from Montreal and may know her way around better than the other contestants.

    1. Yes, you are correct. Thank you, and I have corrected my silly mistake!

  2. I also looked at the cheering at the mat but it felt inconclusive because only Kelly and Kate were jumping around...the actions looked pretty rehearsed and Fire and Ice especially weren't as boisterous as I would expect if the Steph/Kristen or Jillian/Emmett won over Joel/Ashley. From the twitter war, I do agree that 1)Ashley wouldn't have some off a bit unexcited about Leg 10 if she won (she'd be a pretty smug winner to get into a twitter war) 2) The back and forth on twitter felt like it was between 3rd and 4th place.

    I'm still 50/50 between Jillian/Emmett and Steph/Kristen based on how the show is edited, although I would prefer Steph/Kristen to win because their track record has been really impressive and I do like it when the "deserving" team wins. They won without using an express pass which they got - I think it created more problems than necessary for them. If I were them I would have hands down given it to Julie and Lowell, it's the very obvious choice and easy justification to help someone with a personal disadvantage in racing. No one would have held it against giving it to Fire and Ice made little sense especially since I felt like they backstabbed them by hinting ferociously how they got the pass.

    It's difficult for me to say because Jillian and Emmett are more media savvy and would hide the win better. However I have felt the level of excitement from Kristen and Steph go up the past 3 weeks on Twitter/Instagram.

  3. I agree with everything you said.
    Maybe I should clarify. The overhead shot of the finish line - filmed from a helicopter, could have been taken during a rehearsal moment. So we can't really depend on team reactions or shadows for that matter.
    Although I do enjoy a good underdog win from time to time, I also like to see the most deserving team win too. I think at this point it's Steph and Kristen's race to win or lose. Just like it was Nat and Meg's in S2. The parallels are amazing. The only difference is Steph and Kristen have to contend with Jillian and Emmett (don't get me wrong, they are also very deserving), not Mickey and Pete. Much more difficult, I think. And I also think it's going to be CLOSE, no matter who wins!

  4. What did you think of this season? There was SO MUCH drama, it felt like watching the Bachelor :') I really liked it, because I'm cheering for Steph and Kristen since episode 1! They are a really strong team, they are funny, outgoing, they have such a great connection and they make are so adorable together, it's really cute to watch.
    I don't remember from previous seasons, but I thought the fans were pretty nasty and mean this season; insulting teams they didn't like and saying horrible things about them especially about Jillian! I'm not their biggest fan, but Jillian does deserve winning as much as Steph and Kristen do and we can't really judge her based on seeing her on TV 15 minutes per week!

    1. It's been a great season! All of the cast has been entertaining and I couldn't be happier with the F3.
      Many die-hard fans blame the "casual" or new fans for all the nasty comments. I still think they're just bullies/trolls which are prevalent in all fandoms (doesn't matter if it's Reality or Scripted TV), and think social media gives them the right to target people in the public eye. To me, the cast members who have taken heat have only done what they are supposed to the game and entertain us.

    2. Different anon here - totally agree that all teams are deserving but I really hope Steph and Kristen win. They are super cute together and IMO only Steph feels like the overall strongest competitor this race with the mix of comps she's had to be in. Jillian is actually very entertaining and good at the race...she did just as well as any of the other Final 3 contestants... without her and teams like Fire and Ice the season would not have had as many laughs. Emmett and her have a weird dynamic sometimes when she's stressed but he doesn't even seem bothered by it, so not sure why other people should. I feel like these teams have been really kind to each other through good and bad...or maybe I am just used to the complete meltdowns and insults seen in earlier seasons of TARUS.

    3. They have been good to each other, and yet they also know they are on a reality TV show, competing for a grand prize. I think you nailed it on the head with Jillian and Emmett - if it doesn't bother Emmett why should it bother anyone else? Never did me, I found her incredible. What a boring season it would be if we didn't see all their real-life reactions?

  5. To Anonymous who posted, "Came across this tweet a while ago. Don't know if it gives any insight especially since he wasn't sure what place they were in. What do you think? Interesting seeing as it is believed the bank is one of the last if not the last task." (Link to tweet redacted)
    I did not want to include the tweet link, because of the source. If you read the original tweet, you will see what I am hinting at. Since Blogger is limited, I cannot post your comment w/o the link.
    To answer your question: Yes, it's possible, but we still can't say for sure the BMO task was the last task before the finish line! S3 had the ski-jumping task between the memory task and the finish line. And right now I suspect the St. Viateur bagel delivery may be similarly positioned. I also suspect there will be a lot of flipping back and forth in the lead this year.


Please feel free to discuss this.