Yet, we’re not sure we’ve ever seen a mess of a leg quite like the one that aired on CTV last night. There were some unforeseen circumstances that came into play here, but this may overall be one of the most poorly designed legs that we’ve seen taken place in a rather long time. There were so many different logistical issues that you think really would have been thought through; maybe production thought they could handle one or two of them, but not every single one at once. The thing that this episode may have going for it best is that it was a non-elimination leg and nobody has to go home as a result of all of this nonsense.
Let’s start with what worked here first and foremost. The setting in the Magdalen Islands was a place that we had never even heard of before now. It’s not even available to see on Google Streetview! One of the cool things about “The Amazing Race Canada” is that sometimes you get a chance to see somewhat remote areas of the country that have never really been captured before on mainstream television. This was tremendously excited.
Now, we have to turn to everything that went wrong.
A good roadblock in theory – It’s too bad it was terrible in execution. Sure, everyone loves the image of a team member having to build a sandcastle around one of their other teammates while this person stays buried. The problem here is that we don’t think anyone really thought too much about the long-term effects of being under that sand and in the water for so long? It can cause your muscles to seize up, and it is one of those things that could have been easily avoided by just not putting her in that situation. There were a couple of minutes where Kristin (of Neil & Kristin) looked like she would have to quit the race after going to the hospital.
The Face Off – We do still like the idea that the show is trying something new that hadn’t been done before on other seasons. The problem here is that, whether it is this or the Intersection, so many problems can arise. For one, you’re penalized somewhat for another team’s failures waiting around for them. Then, there was also the problem for Nic & Sabrina after they arrived there in last place. Because there was no one to face off with, they were just given a free ride through to the next part of the race without a penalty. Basically they were rewarded for other teams deciding that they would take a time penalty. If anything else, they should have had to sit there with the hourglass or something.
In the future, it is probably better suited to come up with a twist that does not rely on another team having to be present. That alleviates this problem.
The Detour – For the most part, this was okay. The dressage competition and the farming task were not the most exciting ever, but if this was a normal leg they would’ve been fine. The weirdness came at the very end of the episode. Both Simi & Ope (who were terrible at the Face Off) and Neil & Kristin had taken four-hour time penalties there. After Nic & Sabrina were U-Turned by Brent & Sean (who were U-turned by Gino & Jesse in a failed attempt to flush out the Express Pass), they learned that because it was too late to dot he dressage task, they would just have to take a time penalty … which was some period of time less than four hours. They finished in sixth place just because they had a shorter penalty, which was explained really poorly on the show.
Really, there were just way too many rules technicalities in the hour, to the point that without a rulebook in front of us, it is confusing how everything shook down at the bottom of the leaderboard. Nic & Sabrina really lucked out for a good chunk of the leg, while Simi & Ope failed at the Face Off multiple times only to then have to take a penalty along with it.
On a positive note for Gino & Jesse, they killed this leg despite a few little errors. They’ve shown a lack of perfection as of late, but there are some pretty poor racers left this season and if they are confronted with a leg that is largely physical like this one, they will dominate. Brian & Cynthia, meanwhile, continue to impress us on their way to second. They are more entertaining than we gave them credit for in the early going, and we like that they seem to be just normal people (which you don’t see on reality TV too often). Also, kudos to them for knowing that U-Turning Gino & Jesse when they had a chance wouldn’t have done them any good. Nick & Matt have hilariously been third-place finishers the past four legs straight.
Probably the real winners beyond Gino & Jesse were Brent & Sean, given that they still have an Express Pass and will be able to use that again moving forward. These two teams are really the only winners (including us) going out of this leg. Grade: D+.
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