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Review: Face Offs and frigid temperatures on Amazing Race Canada

“We can’t expect miracles.” Sabrina’s throwaway comment midway through Wednesday’s newest episode of The Amazing Race ended up being prophetic for she and Nic, Simi and Ope and Neil and Kristin, as the trio of teams were not only saved from elimination but from serious injury too.

Who knew one of the smallest parts of Canada, Les Îles-De-La-Madeleine, Que., would be the most difficult and dangerous? All of the teams suffered from bone-chilling temperatures (I spotted snow on the ground, so yeah, it was cold) but it was Kristin who was affected the most; she was taken to the hospital suffering from leg cramps after spending what looked like hours buried in cold sand. The result? They had to pass on the Kayak Hockey Face Off challenge because Kristin’s legs wouldn’t allow her to compete, incurring a four-hour penalty.

Simi and Ope suffered the same issues with cold because of the Face Off test; they spent so much time unsuccessfully fending off attackers on the water they took the four-hour penalty as well, hoping other teams would meet the same fate.

I liked the Face Off. The prospect of pitting teams head-to-head is an interesting idea and puts a certain amount of intimacy into the Race, but I think using it during the same Leg as a Double U-Turn nullified its power. I’m hoping the next Face Off is done as a stand-alone extra challenge so it matters more.

As for the Double U-Turn, I understood Gino and Jesse’s plan to flush out the Express Pass by putting Sean and Brent’s picture up there. Props to the East Coast brothers for refusing to use it and gutting out both Detours; not only did they save the Pass but they proved themselves to be fierce competitors. But Sean and Brent U-Turning the already last-place Nic and Sabrina? While I get they were making sure they’d give themselves plenty of time to complete the Ride It challenge, U-Turning the down-on-their-luck couple seemed like kicking someone when they’re down, especially since they incurred a time penalty because it was too dark to ride the horses.

Here’s how the teams finished in Season 3’s first non-elimination Leg:

  1. Gino and Jesse
  2. Brian and Cynthia
  3. Nick and Matt
  4. Dujean and Leilani
  5. Brent and Sean
  6. Nic and Sabrina
  7. Neil and Kristin (time penalty)
  8. Simi and Ope (time penalty, non-elimination)

Notes and quotes

  • I’d love to know how the producers decide when teams will depart on a Leg of the Race. Why 1:30 a.m. for this Leg?
  • “Married, no kids … but I still like the boys.” Brian’s comment to Cynthia made me laugh out loud.
  • “Punch it, Chewie!” Brian is quickly becoming my go-to for favourite quotes.
  • Can we sign a petition to have Kayak Hockey added to the Summer Olympics?
  • “Come on, Gino, work those nipples.” I’m leaving that one alone.

The Amazing Race Canada airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on CTV.

Greg David
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Greg David

Prior to becoming a television critic and partner at TV, Eh?, Greg David was a critic for TV Guide Canada, the country's most trusted source for TV news. He has interviewed television actors, actresses and behind-the-scenes folks from countless programs. Survivor winners, Donald Trump, Jerry Bruckheimer ... he has interviewed (literally) hundreds of TV people over the course of his career. He is a past member of the Television Critics Association.
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One thought on “Review: Face Offs and frigid temperatures on Amazing Race Canada”

  1. That was the most dramatic episode of the Race I’ve seen in years. Still not sure how I feel about the Face Off automatically giving a penalty but apparently it’s only 15 minutes in other versions of the show. And we didn’t get to see it work properly anyway so I can’t judge it yet. I bet the producers were freaking out behind the scenes.

    I’m not sure but I thought the teams (in the US version at least), depart for the next leg 12 hours after they check-in at the Mat. (After time penalties have been applied as needed). So I assume last week’s leg finished at 1:30 in the afternoon.

    I probably would have done the same as Gino/Jesse in trying to flush out the express Pass. Although it was an easier Detour so Brent and Sean had a good chance of keeping it regardless. Although Nic & Sabrina may annoy them at the next airport.

    How much dumb luck can Nic & Sabrina have? Three weeks ago they survived a penalty with about 5 minutes to spare, indirectly helping Brian/Cynthia eliminate Dana/Amanda. Two weeks ago they survived because Hamilton lost his passport. This week they got U-Turned but didn’t have to do the task because it’s dangerous to be on horses after dark, and *two* other teams took time penalties, so Nic & Sabrina are still safe and didn’t have to do the Face Off with no penalty!

    They didn’t say how long Nic & Sabrina got penalized for the horse-ride did they? It probably wont matter with two other teams also serving penalties, and not being able to do the task is not really Nic & Sabrina’s fault there either, so it shouldn’t be as long as other penalties.

    I kind of respect Kristin for at least finishing the horse thing. They are probably the next team to go though with her new leg problems plus they and Simi/Ope still have Face Off penalties to wait out.

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