Note: Contains spoilers. Do not read on if you haven't seen Episode 4 of "Amazing Race Canada"
It happened. An episode of The Amazing Race Canada where teams were asked to "run half a kilometre across the frozen lake to find their next clue." Though the leg resembled a scene from 30 Rock, and did not feature an aurora borealis-themed (or Oreo Borealis-themed) challenge, the trek through the Northwest Territories and the Yukon was certainly a white-knuckler.
But, despite the photo-finish foot (and ATV) race between Kristen and Darren and Jody and Cory, to the reality TV-savvy eye, the hippies clearly had a one-way ticket to elimination this week. Typically, when contestants boast that they're a "competitive team" and "this race will reveal the reality of our relationship" at the start of an episode, it foreshadows their doom. Later, Darren added even more reality regret at the Calgary International Airport, when Vanessa and Celina "batted their eyelashes" (Hal's words) to get to the front of the ticket line, and he said, "Now I feel stupid for giving them the [Express] Pass." Of course, the shrieking sisters later used said pass to skip the Detour, leaving the last two teams to eat their dust and race to the finish in the Yukon's Carcross Desert.
Every team started the leg on even ground, catching the 6 a.m. flight from Calgary to Yellowknife, via Edmonton, in spite of a range of start times. Once landed, the pairs made their way to the Bush Pilot's Monument before heading to the Government Dock for this week's Roadblock -- a Polar Bear Dip. Much like Vancouver's speedskating Roadblock, a boisterous crowd cheered (and booed!) on the teams as they jumped into the ice-cold water in Baywatch-appropriate attire, to retrieve their next clue. Besides, what says Polar Bear Dip like two Golden Retrievers and a dozen spectators?
In an effort to raise his core body temperature through the power of adrenaline, Cory lost sight of the task, and quickly jumped in and out of the near-frozen lake without grabbing the clue. He quickly repeated the task, but seemed similarly rattled when signing up for one of three flights to Carcross, YT, when he accidentally registered the duo for a later departure. D'oh! Back at the Roadblock, Tim Jr. tried to pull a fast one on Dave, and cut in front of him in line. Luckily for Dave, the Yellowknife cheer squad pointed out the injustice, started booing, and made 'Ropegate' a thing until Tim Jr. lost his icy-plunge-rope privileges. "Whatever man, don't call me a cheater!" said Tim Jr.
You can't call Bodybreak cheaters, either. After getting a little lost on the way to the Yellowknife Airport, Hal and Joanne rightfully signed up for a spot on the second flight to Carcross, YT. Soon after, Jody and Cory awkwardly approached the Participaction stars, and asked, "Hey Hal, I know you made a mistake there, and we told you guys where to sign up, are you willing to let us go where we're supposed to go?" Cut to commercial. Oh, the suspense! After the break, Joanne declines, and says, "I wouldn't have expected another team to correct my mistake." You go, girl. After all, it's Race 101 to use any advantage you have to get ahead in the leg, especially when another pair makes a lapse in judgment. Ah, flightgate.
Jon Montgomery kicks off the Detour as only he can -- by hitting the bullseye with his hatchet toss. Given the choice between the Yukon Supply Run (build a raft to paddle across a lake) or the Klondike Gold Rush (a series of tiny tasks which includes the aforementioned hatchet toss, log slicing with a two-person saw, and a blindfolded wheelbarrow scavenger hunt) only Brett and Holly and Kristen and Darren chose the former, opting not to follow Montgomery's hilarious lead. Even though they were on the last flight to Carcross and fighting to stay alive in the race, Kristen, once again, says, "We have an Express Pass in our bag, but we don't want to use it because we have a background in paddling." Sigh. Sadly, we know how it works out for the Fairmont Hot Springs, B.C. duo. Plus, it's hard to compete with Jody and Cory in a foot race, especially when their motto is, "Never quit." Still, the free-wheeling duo seemed to be in good spirits about their elimination, and we hope Kristen and Darren end up "find[ing] some hippies with a camper van" in the Yukon. Why not?
Until next week, here are the five best watercooler moments of the episode, in no particular order, in the form of a hashtag.
Sigh. In one episode, Vanessa and Celina temporarily lost their keys, had to run to the map twice, and walked right by the visible clue box. Yet, this Ottawa twosome managed to keep a cool head, and not get too rattled by these silly, human mistakes. On the other hand, Jody and Cory had two major Race blunders, with Flightgate putting them in harm's way. We can't help but root for Jody and Cory, but these slip-ups may only get worse as the race goes on -- especially if the Tims managed to beat them, and place fifth, even with an extra memory-based Speed Bump. Meanwhile, Holly and Brett, whose Type-A energy got them all worked up last week, finished strong on this leg of the race. The pediatricians took time to read their maps properly, and ended up on the first flight to Carcross, YT. Way to race!
Red onesies? Red briefs? ... And woolen socks? It's not the Hoff, it's Hal! The Polar Bear Dip Roadblock bathing suits were really ... something.
It's nice to see Jet and Dave earn a win on this leg, and with it, a bromantic trip for two to Cancun, Mexico. These BFFs are certainly coming into their own in the one-liner department, especially when recounting their exploits on the Detour during the blindfolded wheelbarrow nugget grab. "We grab a nug all the time!" said Dave. "Nug here, nug there." Of course you do. Either way ... well-played -- it got a good laugh.
The Amazing Race Canada is certainly not short on sight gags, especially when Jon Montgomery's wardrobe changes are involved, but the best on-camera guest appearance has to be the Calgary International Airport greeter. It's just after 2 a.m., and Hal and Joanne ask a white-Stetson-clad gentleman, in a vest no less, for directions. He soon tells them most ticket counters do not open until 4 a.m., but even though he's the bearer of bad news, it's hard not to smile at a well-dressed man in a hat, randomly walking around in the wee hours.
By now, we're starting to see the personality of each racing pair: Bros will be bros, brothers will have each other's backs, and Hal and Joanne clearly know how to "Keep fit and have fun" (especially when using a two-man saw), but the teams are starting to use their schticks to their advantage, and we're excited to see what's next.
"The Amazing Race Canada" airs every Monday night at 9 p.m. ET on CTV.