The biggest question for me heading into this season is whether they will finally go for a full international season. I get it, Canada is a great country, there are lots of amazing and varied places to see, but for me one of the most interesting parts is the travel around the world. I’m sure they’re trying to promote travel and tourism in Canada but to me by keeping it all within Canada they’re eliminating interesting aspects from the game. It’s one thing getting lost in your own country, it’s a whole other dynamic trying to navigate the streets of India, or China. Perhaps it’s a budgetary issue, the US is obviously a much larger country than Canada. However Amazing Race Canada is touted as one of the most successful Canadian television shows of all time, I think they can probably afford it. Not to mention there was an Australian version of the show that went for a few seasons and that series was international for every season. Fun fact: Australian actress Rebel Wilson’s brother and sister (Ryot and Liberty) were on the first season.
It becomes apparent within the first ten minutes that this season won’t be international *sigh* hopes dashed. It’s not like I won’t still watch it though…
It’s also apparent within a few minutes that the Amazing Race producers have once again attempted to make the contestants as diverse as possible. And they seem to want a girl-girl team to win. Of the ten teams there are five girl-girl teams, two guy-guy teams (now only one), and three mixed girl-guy teams. In three seasons so far only guy-guy teams have won, with Mickey and Pete somehow topping the very dominate Natalie and Meaghan. It took the US version of the Amazing Race seventeen seasons to have a girl duo win, I think the producers don’t want to wait that long. But maybe I’m reading too much into this…
The season starts on a frozen lake in Yellowknife, and begins with a translation challenge. The teams search the forest for translations and once they repeat the correct one, they’ll be given their next clue. The clue directs them to Edmonton Airport where the first four teams will make the first flight and everyone else will be on a second one. The first flight consists of Jillian and Emmett (of Big Brother Canada fame), father and son Stephane and Antoine, father-daughter and Mrs. Universe Ashley and Joel, and fellow moms Anne and Tanya. Once at Edmonton airport they make their way via bus to Jasper National Park and their first Road Block. They will take the Jasper tram 3 teams at a time, stop midway, climb out and under the tram, across a series of monkey bars and grab a clue.
Anne and Tanya get lost leaving the other three teams to go the first round. Stephane faces his fear of heights but falls on the first round, as does Ashley. Emmet makes it across giving him and Jill a good lead as other teams are beginning to arrive and the two teams now have to go to the back of the line. The next three teams set out, business partners Kelly and Kate, Mother-daughter Frankie and Amy, and couple Steph and Kristen. Steph makes it across somehow getting her foot wrapped in the ladder at the end and preventing a fall. The other two girls take a tumble. Kelly and Kate decide to bail on the challenge thinking that the length of time to get through a round of the tram will play in their favour, which might have been a good strategic choice. More on that later. Another round of three, three more falls and another team, friends Anthony and Brandon, electing to quit the challenge and take the time penalty.
We cut to Jill and Emmett beginning the next section, a paddle down the Athabasca river, followed by another Road Block which is to be completed by whoever didn’t do the first one. It involves repelling down a canyon and retrieving a beacon which will lead to the next clue. Jill gets down the canyon with no problem but seems to have trouble understanding how the beacon works. Kristen and Steph arrive and look to be making up time with Steph having no issues with the challenge. Jill does manage to finish first though and they’re off to the pit stop.
We cut back to the tram challenge, Stephane and Ashley manage to finish before the challenge is called due to weather issues. All the teams have to wait the amount of time it would take to do one more round of the tram and then are to continue on, including Anne and Tanya who have just arrived but have yet to actually attempt the challenge. Looks like big trouble for the penalty teams. It may have initially been a good strategy based on what Kelly and Kate said about how much time it takes to do just one round. If a team has trouble it could potentially take hours for someone to finish. However with the new twist, it seems unlikely that any teams will be delayed that much, it’s now a race for last between the two time penalty teams.
Jill and Emmett cross the finish line first earning themselves a trip to London and a victory. Steph and Kristen pull into second place easily while the two time delay teams hit the second road block. Kelly and Kate manage to pull in first, ensuring Anthony and Brandon’s exit from the game. We zip through the rest of the teams finishing the Road Block, Julie has trouble using the beacon and the twins and the moms get lost. But it doesn’t change the inevitable, Anthony and Brandon are last and going home.
- Jillian and Emmett (team Big Brother)
- Steph and Kristen (The new Natalie and Meaghan?)
- Stephane and Antoine
- Joel and Ashley
- Julie and Lowell
- Frankie and Amy (Fire and Ice)
- Rita and Yvette (The twins)
- Anne and Tanya (The moms)
- Kelly and Kate
- Anthony and Brandon *out*
Overall, it was a bit of a disappointing start to the season. The first road block could have been a really cool challenge, unfortunately it looks like it took to long to go through rounds of it, and it was ruined by the weather so half the teams never had to complete it. Also despite the extended time spent on team bios, all of them seem a little bit on the boring side. The exception is team fire and ice, who showed they have big personalities and are willing to abandon other teams to win (they drove off when the other girl teams were lost). Hopefully the producers can get it together for the rest of the episodes and they do a few more international legs.
Here are my three stars for the episode
∗ Jill and Emmett – Secured the first win and looked like a strong team doing it. They’re also reality TV vets, they should know it’s not just about winning, it’s about entertainment. However they’re fighting already and it’s only day one. They’re going to have to work on their team dynamic if they’re going to have a chance.
∗∗ Steph and Kristen – These girls looked like a solid team throughout the episode, they didn’t seem to have any issues except when Steph got her foot caught in tram challenge. They should be a solid team if not a little boring at this point.
∗∗∗ Joel and Ashley – We didn’t see much of this team as they were around the middle of the pack, however I have a feeling they are going to be good. Ashley did have a rough go the first round of the tram challenge and they got some nice close-ups of awkward cringing face. However she pulled it out the second go round and I think these two are going to surprise us going forward.