The second episode of “The Amazing Race Canada” season 4 provided us with a lot of interesting material to discuss, mostly because they did so many things really well, and then a few things that were somewhat questionable from a production point of view.
Since we do like to stay fairly positive, let’s begin here by pouring on the praise for some of the interesting strategic decisions that happened around the Express Pass. Creating almost a separate challenge for them was rather brilliant, since it was a debate as to whether or not you sacrifice first place for a chance to be safe down the road. You also had to realize that if you spent too long getting it, you could be eliminated.
Massive kudos to Steph & Kristen, who have quickly become our favorite team of the season thanks to their competitiveness and their decision-making. Not giving up on the Express Pass should pay dividends down the road, since they not only have one that they can use, but one they can give to someone else. Sure, this plus a Detour swap put them in sixth place, but they weren’t close to being in last.
As for Jillian & Emmett, we gotta say they made a pretty bad strategic move here, and we say that as someone who was fairly complimentary of them on “Big Brother Canada.” At first, making a deal to share the Express Pass was brilliant; bailing on Steph & Kristen on the way there was not. Now, it feels like there is zero reason for Steph & Kristen to give it to them; they’ve been lied to, and they also now know that these two are huge threats with two straight first-place finishes. If we were Steph & Kristen, we’d give the second Express Pass to Kelly & Kate in a heartbeat. They seem like fun people, and it’s nice to have a morale boost around, especially when they’re not particularly good at racing. These two were spared tonight thanks only to it being a non-elimination leg, and they made a number of poor decisions tonight, and really didn’t seem to have too much in the way of killer instinct. If you can keep them around longer, it only helps your chances.
For a time, it seemed like Rita & Yvette could be going home after getting lost near the start of the leg; with that said, we were impressed by their physical prowess and drive near the end, and wouldn’t be shocked if they have a surge up the leaderboard in the coming weeks.
We’ve talked about most of the good stuff in this past episode, so let’s focus now on the ho-hum: The tasks themselves. We already had the token “task for people afraid of heights” last week, and other than the Route Marker and the Express Pass task at the vinyl shop, there wasn’t really anything else in here that showed off anything unique when it comes to Calgary. We’ve seen simulators and fishery challenges on other seasons.
All in all, we’re saying that the strategy in this episode lifted it up to a higher level. Grade: B+.
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