WARNING: Spoiler Alert! Do not read on unless you've seen "Amazing Race Canada" Season 2, Episode 11. Unless you like spoilers, then go right ahead!
With seven first-place finishes to their names, Natalie and Meaghan may as well be known as the "Amazing Race Canada"'s Prince(sses) of Tide. However, it's unfortunate their outstanding efforts were muddled in the New Brunswick-based semifinal leg, which was a Tidal (and Total) Bore.
Over 17 minutes of a 43-minute show were devoted to a painstakingly dull Detour of international signal flag arrangement and patterning. It may have taken place in the bed of the world-famous, beautiful Hopewell Rocks, but it was impossibly hard to follow, and seriously, who cares about flags?
"It seems so simple," said Meaghan, after her eleventh attempt. "Up one side, and down the other. We've checked and checked and checked."
With no connection to the local landmark, and no suspense or jockeying between the teams, the challenge completely weighed down the episode. Remember this season's coin matching task? Or last year's location scouting in Vancouver? These sluggish, hobby-focused tasks lack the intensity and competitive edge needed to complete the race's M.O.: test the relationship of the partners through stressful, unusual, and frustrating destination-focused challenges in a journey around the world (or Canada).
The pesky Sukhi and Jinder are still in the running, and while they irritated us at every turn, at least they provided a bit of entertainment. As has become their trademark, the brother-sister pair had the gall to beg the Olympic frontrunners for help on the challenge after misdirecting them on the last leg. Oh, and let's not forget their unnecessary U-Turn of Ryan and Rob on a previous episode. Begrudgingly sympathetic, Natalie and Meaghan show them their version of the task's clue, as part of their vow to play a clean and honest game. Sure. Regardless, the athletic pair never lost their lead in the episode, and dominated at each and every step.
First, the duos drove across Confederation Bridge to New Brunswick to visit the Bay of Fundy in Shediac, NB, the world's lobster capital. Except, instead of doing anything relating to lobster, they head to a Dairy Queen, to "prepare ice cream treats" for a birthday-celebrating family. Let's not forget: DQ is a delicacy across the country, just like Mentos.
On the way, the bratty siblings hit their first run-in with karma, and receive a 15-minute penalty for running a red light. Ultimately, it doesn't make much of a difference, as the teams then head to the Albert County Museum, again, for no reason but a name drop, and are given their choice between two Detours -- By Land (use GPS to find buried treasure) or By Sea (learn international signal flags and position them to send a message). Each pair chooses By Sea, to give viewers a lesson in mind-numbing monotony.
Then, it was off to the Roadblock at Cape Enrage (gotta love the suitable name), where one team member was tasked with rappelling down a cliff, climbing back up, and finally meeting Jon at the mat upon completion of its adjoining zipline. After a season of showboating, attitude and entitlement, it was here where Sukhi and Jinder finally found their comeuppance. While watching Sukhi struggle to rappel and climb, Jinder spotted Ryan and Rob nearing the Pit Stop, and knew their race was over. It didn't stop him from half-heartedly cheering on his sister as she finished up, or from expressing his disappointment to Jon.
"I know we're done," said Jinder. "It just sucks."
So, now what? The final three of Natalie and Meaghan, Mickey and Pete and Ryan and Rob will all head to Ottawa to compete for GAS FOR LIFE, a series of other prizes, and glory. Though the hockey players are the obvious picks to win, the cottage country hippies may have never won a leg of the race but they've placed on the podium on seven different occasions. Plus, each episode, they're quick to remind the audience about their variety of odd jobs, skills and experiences, which could be beneficial in the "how bad do you want it" race to the end. The Tims won with a similar, but less stellar record last year, so anything can happen.
As for Ryan and Rob? The bartenders are basically dead in the water. Even Jon was quick to dismiss their chances after they survived two non-elimination legs, saying, "It's pretty miraculous that you're here, I'm not gonna lie."
Who are you rooting for? Are you still watching after this lacklustre semifinal? Tweet us @HuffPostCanada.