WARNING: Spoiler Alert! Do not read on unless you've seen "Amazing Race Canada" Season 2, Episode 9. Unless you like spoilers, then go right ahead!
Have you bought your tickets to "The Amazing Race Canada: Montreal Drift"? If so, don't forget to attend in the buff, and to BYOC (Bring Your Own Cheese).
In travelling from France to New France, the best, and most ruthless, competitive episode of the season was completely undercut by its status as a non-elimination leg.
Rivalries! Car chases! Nudity! Never-ending taste tests! But, did any of it matter?
For the second time in three episodes, west coast bartenders Ryan and Rob were spared from elimination at the mat. Struggling through this entire segment of the race, the bros were clearly out of their depth with these challenges. They failed at the Fast Forward (after electing to take it while knowingly behind the others, despite the fact the advantage is only available for one team), took 32 tries to finish the grilled cheese Detour before switching to the other task, and obviously landed at the mat way later than the other teams. They showed, in another instance, that they could not perform up to par in a partly French-speaking region. Did they deserve to be saved? Are they the most compelling or likeable characters on the show? The answer is likely no to both, and yet it still happened.
Even though the sophomore season features two more episodes and two more teams than its breakout debut last summer, it features the same amount of second-chance legs. Still, it doesn't make it any more appetizing to process. (Remember when non-elimination legs were few and far between? Longing for those days.)
But, with the final three in sight, the audience has a clear grasp on the following: nobody can stand pesky siblings Sukhi and Jinder (especially Ryan and Rob), beloved Olympians Natalie and Meaghan are at war with their own egos, and Alain is a boastful stuntman-by-trade who can neither stick fight or speed race. Oh, and Mickey and Pete share an assortment of unusual skills, like the former's grandma driving.
The episode started with all of the teams bunched together at Paris' Charles de Gaulle airport, despite the five-hour lead held by Natalie and Meaghan. Almost instantly, Sukhi starts taunting Ryan and Rob about last week's U-Turn, which Ryan dubs "salt in the wound." Amidst the tension between the pairs, Audrey takes some time to show off her sparkly new engagement ring to Meaghan, then promptly, albeit seemingly half-heartedly, invited each remaining twosome to her and Alain's nuptials.
The racers touched down in Montreal together, then headed to the Circuit Icar driving centre for a "bad ass" Roadblock. Celebrating his birthday, the always-showboating Jinder described the two-pronged, one-partner task by saying, "this car is so fast, and I'm like, vroom, ooh yeah baby!" Naturally. In spite of Alain's performance difficulties that brought his team from first to fourth, each partner passed the test with some difficulty.
"That was actually so fun," said Mickey. "I was giggling the whole time!"
Then, it was off to Atwater Market, where the duos were tasked with choosing the Fast Forward (surprise nude modelling), or the Detour of Flamed (creating glass beads, which required patience and co-ordination), or Grilled (sample 10 different grilled cheeses at the "Le Cheese" food stand, and then run 50 metres to identify the unmarked sandwiches).
The squawking siblings chose to pursue the Fast Forward, and slowly undressed in front of each other to model in their birthday suits. Of course, they weren't looking.
"I don't know how we're going to explain this to Mom and Dad!" said Jinder, in a quote that became the episode title.
"Let's pretend it never happened."
Back at Le Cheese stand, Natalie and Meaghan nearly imploded when they couldn't taste the difference between each grilled cheese sandwich. Kvetching up a storm, the two only were able to succeed when they stopped belittling each other and ate other samples beyond their self-appointed fromages.
The Muskoka, ON free spirits seized this opportunity to celebrate their completion of the Detour, and taunt their opponents.
"If eating grilled cheese was an Olympic sport," said Mickey, "We'd be Olympians!" said Pete. Meanwhile, Alain and Audrey also ran into difficulty on their home turf, finishing in fourth.
Can the show rebound from this buckling? Not only are Sukhi and Jinder gaining momentum, but Mickey, Pete and the hockey players are cementing their status on the Race's podium. It remains to be seen if any of the rankings will change next week, when the teams head to Charlottetown.