What in the world is it with teams on “The Amazing Race Canada” this season taking frequent time penalties? In many ways, this is definitely frustrating to see, given that the majority of the time our sentiment is that if it is something that you can mentally or physically do, you are better off pushing through it and not getting frustrated.
The entire course of events on Wednesday night’s episode really hinged on decision that was made almost immediately upon arrival in Saskatoon. Faced with a bath-based challenge right outside of the airport, both Dujean & Leilani and Neil & Kristin took the two-hour penalty, while the majority of the other teams banded together soon afterwards to solve the task. Maybe these teams were inspired by the fact that they could get ahead of the ones with penalties (therefore allowing them to team up faster than they would have otherwise), but we see almost zero evidence that it was better for anyone to not at least give this a good shot.
For Neil, the biggest problem we had with this was that he seemed to go strictly into father-mode rather than teammate-mode, making the decision to take the penalty for his daughter without really giving her a chance. While Dujean & Leilani recovered from this fine, they’re also younger and in better shape. We know that Neil has an athletic history, but he’s also older, and Kristin was just at the hospital a couple of episodes ago. This decision cost them the race, and it was easily avoidable. 95% of the time, taking the penalty as a strategy is a bad move.
Let’s talk about a right move for a minute here: Brent & Sean using their Express Pass right away on the math challenge was super-smart. Sure, they had to use it on this leg, but we feel like it’s a good move if you can tell that there is a long task ahead that will trip up some other teams to just get that head start. It takes a little of the pressure off the rest of the way. While Gino & Jesse nearly caught them on their way to their first-ever top finish, they didn’t. We don’t think they are serious contenders to win, but we could see them making it to the finale and finishing in second or third.
We’re clearly the most impressed by Gino & Jesse coming out of this. They showed in the math task that they can perform well in more mental challenges, and provided that they can navigate well they’re almost impossible to beat. Their history in renovations made them a beast at the Detour celebrating First Nations traditions (which was really cool and a great representation of local culture), and the are simply faster than anyone else this season. With wrestlers Nick & Matt really struggling for the first time on their way to fifth, it feels like the brothers are even further ahead of the pack than they have been to date.
While the math challenge was a little ho-hum, we did think this was a particularly good episode that used the location fairly well, especially as we started to move along into the leg. The biggest surprise may be that somehow, Simi & Ope are still around despite looking for weeks like they are on the cusp of elimination. Had Neil & Kristin just been a tad faster somewhere along the leg, they could’ve survived even the penalty. Grade: B.
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