The season of penalties on “The Amazing Race Canada” continues. After watching Tuesday night’s new episode, we do hope future teams take note that if you don’t complete a task, you are probably going to go home.
We’re not going to give Stephane & Antoine too much grief on the quit itself, mostly because of the heat as a factor. Stephane is an older guy, and doing the duck-corralling Roadblock in Vietnam for hours had to physically exhaust him. There’s a certain point where you hit your limit, and it’s a little different than what appeared to be more of a bad strategic decision in week one to bail on a task that simply seemed challenging.
The real issues with the formerly-strong father / son two were two-fold. First, they should have realized that in this climate, younger legs were a smarter choice for the Roadblock. Then, Antoine should have realized that his strategy was helping other teams and hurting him. That cost him places, and also exhausted him to the point where it was hard for him to do much of anything. This Roadblock sapped pretty much all of the drama from the episode, other than wondering if Anne & Tanya were going to be okay after what happened to them in one of the previews.
As a whole, this leg reinforced in us many strengths and weaknesses. For example, Joel & Ashley are a team to be reckoned with. They’re not the fastest duo in the game, but they are patient, make smart decisions, and have a good relationship. As we saw in the dancing Detour, Joel is fine to concede control to his daughter. That helped them to get their first win at the top of the leaderboard.
Meanwhile, Jillian & Emmett have some serious cracks in their foundation as a team. Their physical strength and speed will be able to carry them through probably several legs, but with their terrible communication patterns, it’s hard to label them favorites. She demands to be heard at times a little too much, but a part of that may be because Emmett is terrible when it comes to hearing her at all. This is on him to make her feel like she’s a contributor to the team, even if he is a workhorse and capable of doing so much physical. Despite their breakdowns and a mistake reading the clue early in the leg (a 30-minute penalty that impacted four teams), they were still able to finish in fourth.
On the flip side, props to Kelly & Kate for scoring third place and proving to be a better team than we imagined they were after two episodes. There’s still not enough of an extra gear there (if freaking out over carrying toads is a problem, can you imagine some of the tasks to come?), but they may have the upside of a final five team or so. Also, we kind of feel like Lowell of Julie & Lowell is our spirit animal, whether it be the bad vision or the “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” references. Also, we’d probably be in the back of the back most of the time if we were racing.
For now, we’re still banking on Steph & Kristen as the team to beat. The one tangible mistake they made this week during the early going was in part their driver’s fault, but they recovered from that nicely thanks to really good communication and encouragement; in the end, they finished second. Do we think hiding the Express Pass is the right move? Not really, since they’re obvious threats anyway and sooner or later you’re going to have to show another team that you were lying in giving one of them up. We’ll see how that plays out.
All in all, this was as good of an episode that we’re going to get when you consider that we had such a predictable boot. We love ducks, we love that we’re out of Canada for at least a couple of weeks, and the show continues to do a good job of relaying history and culture alongside the competitive spirit.
Also worth noting: It’s now guaranteed that for the first time, a woman will be at the finish line on “The Amazing Race Canada” in first place. Episode Grade: B.
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