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No “Tomorrow”: 19-2 clocks out for the last time

I just didn’t want any of my favourite characters to get killed. Yes, that was the low bar I’d set for myself heading into Monday’s series finale of 19-2. As long as Ben, Nick, Bear, Audrey and the rest closed out the show intact I would be happy.

But would “Tomorrow,” written by Bruce M. Smith and directed by Louis Choquette, come through? With an episode synopsis teasing, “The squad works a full moon shift. Suarez and Beatrice get unexpected news. Ben’s brother brings him a gift from home and the squad races to prevent a tragedy,” I wasn’t sure. The full moon brings out the crazy and the weird and the word “tragedy” resulted in heart palpitations, especially with so much drama in last week’s instalment. Was Ben finally free of the mob? Did Nick make a mistake having Farah’s ex-husband arrested? And just who was that mysterious grave dug for?

“Tomorrow” began innocently enough, with 19 attempting to stop the driver of a stolen snowplough from wreaking havoc in the city. The guy finally stopped—after running out of gas—and we were given a treat a long time coming: Audrey and Tyler were teamed for the very first time. We also found out why they’re paired up: Dulac wanted to ride solo. Suarez’s arrival on the scene meant confirmation nothing bad is going into Ben’s file and that Ben had a summons to appear in court regarding the arrest of Farah’s ex.

Then, with one phone call, emotions were high: Ben’s brother, Mark, wanted to meet up with some their father’s items. But before the siblings could suss out the details, 19-2 pulled over a truck packed with metal storage drums. One was leaking, which led to the most Canadian of storylines: stolen maple syrup. 19-2 is not known for its comedic moments, so Nick slipping in syrup and landing on his ass was a scream. One final shot of the liquid oozing into the street—on a sub-zero night, no less—had me concerned that storyline wasn’t headed for a fun conclusion. Suarez spinning his car in it furthered my fear and I yelled at all three to get the hell off the road. Luckily, the storyline never went further than that.

Meanwhile, Bear had her hands full when a young woman, her baby and her father showed up at 19. Dad wanted to file a restraining order against his son-in-law, but his daughter chalked it up to a misunderstanding. 19-2 has dealt with spousal abuse before and I suspected this case would get ugly fast. The woman, Joanie, didn’t want to make a statement, and the trio left. One dropped 911 call later and Audrey and Tyler were plunged into a horrific situation: Joanie’s dead father surrounded by blood splatters up the wall and all over the room. (I visibly cringed when Tyler went down the hall to search other rooms and breathed out in relief when no one else was there.) It was all-hands-on-deck to find Karl Lucas—assumed to be the perp—before he could find his wife and baby.

As for Dulac, Suarez’s damaged car meant they teamed up for the night. There was a frank discussion, and Dulac revealed he was stuck in 19 because his family isn’t filled with quitters. Dulac is a fascinating character. At first, I figured he’d be the comic relief but he’s turned into a deeply conflicted guy who just doesn’t fit in with the rest of his squad.

Dulac and Suarez thought they had captured Karl, but it wasn’t him. Instead, Karl arrived at Joanie’s house while Nick and Ben were there. 19-2 had their guard down—Suarez and Dulac thought they had him in custody—and things went from bad to awful. No, no, NO, I said out loud as the thumping music began and Karl entered the home. Thankfully, Suarez realized his mistake and Ben alerted Nick as Karl lunged forward, swinging a hammer; the duo subdued Karl without injury (Karl wasn’t so lucky.) It was emotional enough to have Ben cradling Joanie’s baby in his arms; having Amelie there, telling him it was “a good day,” and it suddenly got very dusty in my basement. (Darn allergies!) That was good news. Even better news? Bear’s assignment came in: she was 19’s new sergeant.

When Ben and Mark did connect, Ben was in for a surprise: a dead deer their father shot but couldn’t keep because he’s not supposed to have access to firearms. There was a bit of symbolism in this: Ben has been referred to as “Bambi,” by Nick since their first day together and Ben has had visions of the innocent animal dancing in and out of his life during the last four seasons. Was the dead deer a symbol of Ben’s innocence dying? It sure felt like that’s what Smith was telling us. The butchered deer gave Audrey and idea … and she was off.

Nick saw his personal life rebound from two weeks ago. After heading to the waiting room while Ben was in court, Nick ran into Farah’s son, Antoine, and learned his father had stolen $800 from him. The pair bonded over fathers with criminal pasts and candy, leaving the door open for a possible reconciliation with Farah.

Some of the most memorable and enjoyable scenes in 19-2 are when the squad gets together to celebrate, so I was thrilled to see the key characters reunite for a tourtiere feast at Ben’s place. We were introduced to Tyler’s gal pal—the dispatcher he’s been speaking all sultry to all season—and Liam swung by too. We were also shown those left out of the party; the living in Dulac and Gendron and the dead in J.M., J.P., Amelie, Kaz, Houle and the high school gunman. So many ghosts haunting 19.

“Nick,” Ben yelled to his partner in the show’s closing moments. “It was a good day.” Nick nodded, smiled, and left to meet Farah.

Who have been your favourite 19-2 characters? Which storylines have you enjoyed the most? Let me know in the comments below.

 

 

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CTV Presents the World Broadcast Premiere of The Tragically Hip Tour Documentary LONG TIME RUNNING, November 12

From a media release:

On the heels of last night’s big buzz World Premiere at the 42nd Toronto International Film Festival, and a cross-Canada theatrical launch beginning today from Elevation Pictures, CTV today announced the television broadcast premiere of LONG TIME RUNNING, the powerful feature documentary about iconic Canadian band The Tragically Hip and their momentous final tour. The special CTV Feature Presentation premieres across Canada on Sunday, November 12 at 8 p.m. ET. On Monday, November 13, the commercial-free theatrical version of LONG TIME RUNNING begins streaming on Canada’s premium TV streaming service CraveTV.

From acclaimed directors Jennifer Baichwal and Nicholas De Pencier, LONG TIME RUNNING is presented by Bell Media and Elevation Pictures and is produced by Banger Films in association with Shed Creative, a division of Universal Music Canada.

LONG TIME RUNNING chronicles The Tragically Hip’s iconic 2016 Man Machine Poem tour and emotional final concert in their hometown of Kingston, ON after the band’s announcement that lead singer Gord Downie was diagnosed with incurable brain cancer. From Heriot Bay, BC to Gros Morne, NL to Moosonee, ON, viewers are given a unique and exclusive perspective into The Tragically Hip’s world through interviews, verité, intimate behind-the-scenes moments, fan testimonials, audience experience, and performance footage.

Fans can buy their tickets now to see LONG TIME RUNNING in Cineplex and Landmark theatres across Canada, beginning today.

Commissioned by Bell Media, the film is directed by renowned Canadian documentary filmmakers Jennifer Baichwal and Nicholas de Pencier (Manufactured Landscapes, Act of God, Watermark), and produced by Banger Films’ Scot McFadyen (HIP-HOP EVOLUTION, RUSH: BEYOND THE LIGHTED STAGE), and Rachel McLean, in association with Shed Creative (a division of Universal Music Canada). Executive Producers are Bernie Breen, Patrick Sambrook, Scot McFadyen, Sam Dunn, Randy Lennox, Jeffrey Remedios, Dave Harris, Naveen Prasad, and Jeremy Smith.

 

 

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The Amazing Race Canada: And the winners are …

After thousands of kilometres travelled, and millions of steps taken, Tuesday’s final Leg of The Amazing Race Canada crowned its winning team. Would it be dating couple Sam and Paul, who have been so dominant all summer long? Could Team Giver, best buds Kenneth and Ryan, take the title? Or would friends Ivana and Korey pull off the biggest upset of the season and snatch a win from one of the other pairs?

In the end, dating couple Sam and Paul continued the momentum they’d built during later stages of the Race and were this season’s winners, capturing cars, a trip for two around the world, $250,000 and the title. Best friends Kenneth and Ryan placed second with friends Ivana and Korey in third.

“It’s the most amazing thing,” Sam said moments after celebrating. “We met so many amazing people and the fact that I got to do it with Paul and everyone here has been the most amazing experience of our lives.”

“This Race really has changed my life,” Paul said. “Even six months ago I didn’t want to tell people I was gay. Just being in front of all these people and being comfortable with that and being able to talk to everyone and show that this is my boyfriend that I’m in love with. I feel like a different person. I feel like I’m liberated. It’s the best feeling.”

But Sam and Paul’s triumph was anything but easy, thanks to some super-tough tests and a wayward cab ride.

The Leg began with the final pairs all on the same flight to Quebec City, once again negating any chance of a team snagging a lead on the others. (I’m guessing the fact there aren’t as many flight options—or sponsors—is the reason for this.) The trios immediately, upon arrival, were presented with the clue box and the first Road Block of the Leg: one team member had to climb down a cargo net above the raging water of Montmorency Falls to grab their next clue. Paul, Korey and Ryan all opted for the test. To be honest, it seemed like climbing around just above a waterfall was easier than having cockroaches crawling all over your face. Paul made it look easy, steadily picking his way down and then back up the cargo net while calmly explaining his plan. Kudos to Race producers for some truly stunning camera shots of the cataract. I assume it took the other two teams awhile to get into the base building and then back out again because Sam and Paul departed the challenge before the others arrived. Ryan and Korey went head-to-head, with the former outlasting the latter and getting to the top first. Korey’s foot got tangled in the net, further slowing him down.

A quick cab ride to the old city of Quebec produced an interesting challenge, as teams were tasked with navigating the narrow, streets astride bike rickshaws to pick up and drop off customers. Communication and patience was key, which Sam and Paul found out fast. With one partner planted in the park and the other on the rickshaw, the walkie talkie was a lifeline. Language played a huge part in the test too, something Ryan quickly found out as he butchered the French street names. This challenge levelled the playing field, erasing the lead Sam and Paul had and allowing the others to catch up. Frustration also set in thanks mostly to poor radio reception. Paul did complete the task first, but Kenneth was right behind.

The fact The Amazing Race Canada was being done in the summer didn’t stop Quebec City from injecting Bonhomme Carnaval into the mix: teams had to find their next clue amid hundreds of stuffed Bonhomme toys stored in a warehouse. Once they’d found the clue—an empty box of chocolates—it was off to a chocolate shop to cash in the box for a huge hollow egg with the Road Block clue inside it. (Funniest moment of the episode? A man in a Bonhomme costume scaring the bejesus out of Team Giver.)

At the Road Block, the team member who skipped the cargo net had to climb the outside of the tallest building in Quebec City—a 30-plus storey adventure—and look for the flag revealing their next location. Sam was halfway up the wall by the time Kenneth was strapped in, but it was a dead heat as both men were searching for the Race colours. They saw it at the same time, leading to the second funniest moment in the episode: the silent elevator ride to the ground. Ivana made the top of the building quickly but then clearly misunderstood the clue and began looking all over the roof of the building for the marker rather than at the city. Even more shocking than Ivana’s miscue was Kenneth’s: he picked out the flag on top of the university and not the Race flag. Team Giver was forced to return to the building for another peek. Meanwhile, Ivana came to her senses and began scanning the city for the flag and quickly located it.

Meanwhile, Sam’s eyes had picked out the right clue and the couple arrived at the Morrin Centre to complete a puzzle recalling six tests during the season’s Legs and celebrating Canada 150. They were just starting to put things together when Ivana and Korey arrived in second place. Kenneth fixed his mistake and Team Giver was back in it: all three teams were working on their puzzles. It was a truly nail-biting test and the tension in the library was palpable. Kenneth and Ryan’s decision to, um, build the puzzle on the actual puzzle board rather than the floor paid off and they only had to place the six Canada 150-themed challenge tokens in the correct spots before departing to find host Jon Montgomery. Team Giver got it wrong and as they regrouped Sam and Paul got their six tokens correct and departed for Île d’Orléan’s and the final Pit Stop.

The only thing standing in the way of Sam and Paul’s victory was their lost cab driver. Thankfully, he steered them right and the pair were the winners of this season of The Amazing Race Canada.

Here’s how the teams finished The Amazing Race Canada:

  1. Sam and Paul
  2. Kenneth and Ryan
  3. Korey and Ivana

Are you happy with the final results? What did you think of this season of The Amazing Race Canada? Let me know in the comments below.

 

 

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19-2: Memories and moving forward

With just one more episode of 19-2 left to air, I’m at a crossroads. I want to know how the series ends, but I’m not ready to say goodbye to the series. I’m thrilled and appreciative that showrunner Bruce M. Smith was given a fourth season to conclude the series but I really, really wanted more. With the series finale coming next Monday, Smith et. al had a lot to wrap up.

Would “Wake,” written by Nikolijne Troubetzkoy and directed by Louis Choquette, see Ben manage to get out from under the mob? When we last left his apartment, Martine had been grabbed by the man sent to kill Ben. Meanwhile, Nick was feeling the pain of meddling in Farah’s affairs and she had broken up with him. And Dulac appeared headed for some kind of breakdown after becoming addicted to oral sex via a prostitute.

Monday’s new episode began at Ben’s apartment, and from all of the cop cars and the ambulance, I was afraid Martine had been grievously injured. After all, last week’s final moments found her with a gun jammed in her mouth. Thankfully, Martine was just shaken. Ben, on the other hand, was pissed. The protection he was promised didn’t extend to his place and—apparently—thugs from Toronto were looking to muscle in. That meant putting Martine on a bus and her saying goodbye to Ben; for good if she had anything to say about it. “I don’t want to be here anymore,” she told Ben before climbing on a bus for Hamilton, Ont. “Bad shit happens.” Amen, girl, amen. The attempt on Ben’s life lead to an all-out response by 19; they targetted a bar frequented by a motorcycle gang and took everyone into custody.

I’ve written before about how I watch 19-2 with a terrible feeling in my stomach, wary a key character could die at any moment. So my guts were roiling when Ben and Nick accompanied a strung-out teacher back to the place he’d left all his clothes. Were they walking into a dangerous place with no backup? No, but Nick did receive a troubling phone call from his mother: she’d fallen and was hurt and scared. Turns out she’d broken her hip, but was suffering from malnutrition and abusing her medications. In short, she needed round-the-clock care and it was Nick’s responsibility to take care of it. A visit to his mother’s house revealed to Nick and Ben what she was going through: an empty fridge and freezer and a bedroom full of memories of Emelie. We also got a crash-course in the fractured relationship between mother and son. She doesn’t like his career choice and makes no apologies for her stance.

(The teacher, thankful Nick and Ben didn’t arrest him, asked the pair for help with one of his students. That brought the past back to the partners; they reported to the same high school where the massacre took place in Season 2. The bullet holes have been filled in, but the memories remain.)

Audrey, meanwhile, faced her past head-on when she requested to ride solo; the first time she’d done it since being violently assaulted. With flashbacks still fresh in her (and our) mind, Audrey came upon a group of people looking up: a woman was standing on the edge of a building. After attempting to talk the woman to safety, the pair tussled and for one horrifying moment, Audrey was in danger of falling. Then, as quickly as it started, it was over: the woman plunged off the roof and broke both her legs. She would survive, but the incident shook Audrey; J.M.’s ghost haunted her, explaining “the job fucks you up.” Will it do the same to Audrey? She was doing her best not to let it by calling Liam; talking to someone about her feelings is more important than bottling them up.

As for Dulac … well, things were getting serious for the rookie and Tammy, and not in a good way. Tammy’s ex-boyfriend had tracked her down and travelled from New Brunswick to Montreal to stalk her. Dulac ran to her aid off-hours and was promptly jumped by Tammy’s ex and beaten badly. I had an awful premonition recalling Emilie but that didn’t happen to Dulac. Instead, Tammy and her ex-boyfriend were collared and Dulac was admonished for dating a 17-year-old sex worker. Gendron was going to protect him … for a favour. Oh, how I’ve missed the sleazy side to Gendron.

After a long time away from 19-2, Maxim Roy returned as Isabelle, with a plan to help Ben shake his troubles for good. The plot? To arrest a mob guy with ties to several unions (including the police) while television cameras captured it all. It was a show of police force, but I couldn’t help but think the mob would consider it a middle finger and will come down on Ben even harder. Still, it does seem to have worked for now: the man who targetted Ben was found dead in the St. Lawrence.

The 19-2 series finale airs next Monday at 10 p.m. ET on CTV.

Images courtesy of Bell Media.

 

 

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The Amazing Race Canada: Final three revealed in bug-filled Leg

I really enjoy it when The Amazing Race Canada explores smaller communities. The big cities are fine, but the opportunity to go to less-travelled spots in the country, I think, makes for a more enjoyable Leg. So when I learned the final four were headed to Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., I was chuffed. Not only would we be offered a peek at the city, but it would play a role in determining which teams would advance to next week’s season finale.

The place of the rapids was in fine fettle, boasting the rugged terrain that is the hallmark of the Canadian Shield. Sam and Paul were on top of the world with four first-place finishes this season, but would that all come crashing down in the Soo? The remaining teams all began the Leg with a trip I had the pleasure of doing when I was a kid: a train trip to Agawa Canyon. While on the train on a truncated voyage, teams had to match up and memorize the titles and descriptions of 14 paintings done by the Group of Seven. The teams had just 30 minutes to complete the task correctly or be nailed with a 30-minute delay via another loop of the train. It looked like Sam and Paul’s directional challenges meant they’d miss the train, but they arrived in the nick of time.

Sam and Paul missed just one painting in their first attempt but were correct the second time around—Paul had said “lake” instead of “land”—and were off to the races. (Pardon the pun.) The other three duos were stuck with another half-hour ride, leaving Sam and Paul a chance to widen their lead. Kenneth and Ryan completed the task next, followed by Karen and Bert and Ivana and Korey.

The Leg’s Detour hearkened back to the area’s dependence on fur and fish, as teams could either guide two alpacas through an obstacle course in three minutes or go fly fishing and hit three floating targets. Sam and Paul went for the alpaca test, as did Kenneth and Ryan while Karen and Bert and Ivana and Korey opted for fishing. I would have chosen the alpaca test, which looked like a ton of fun. Watching the animals gamely following Sam and Paul was a treat and the foursome completed the challenge with time to spare. Meanwhile, Korey revealed he’s an expert fisherman; minutes later he and Ivana had cast their flies and were departing. Team Giver had major issues with one alpaca and had to swap it out for one that was a little more energetic. (Maybe it got tired of all the yelling.)

The Amazing Race Canada‘s Face Off placed teams on ice competing head-to-head in the hybrid game of crokicurl. The game—a mix of crokinole and curling—involved the curling button and poles and a centre-hole score of 20 points. The last team at the Face Off would, of course, incur a time penalty. While Sam and Paul waited to see who’d they’d play against, we learned Sam’s grandfather competed in The Brier (very cool) and his aunts and uncles all play too. The dating couple were shocked when Korey and Ivana showed up to play; Sam and Paul took the early lead and it was down to the last rock thrown by Ivana. She nailed it, winning the Face Off and leaving Sam and Paul behind to play Bert and Karen. After 13 attempts, Kenneth and Ryan and their alpaca pals were successful and they headed to the rink in last-place. Sam and Paul beat Bert and Karen, leaving the married couple to contend with Team Giver. Ryan brilliantly aimed for the button, nabbing them 20 points and removing the rock from the game. Thanks to Karen’s errant shot that pushed Team Giver’s rock into the button a second time, they best buds were on their way to getting buggy.

The Leg’s Road Block was a creepy crawly affair, as one team member was tasked with counting the number of four species of cockroaches … as they crawled over their partner’s head. (The look on Korey’s face when he realized the bugs would be on him was priceless, as was Ivana’s remark, “The more you talk the more chance they have to get in your mouth.”) Paul was as unenthusiastic as Korey, Ryan seemed downright angry and I’m pretty sure Bert needs therapy; Paul and Sam got the count right their very first try and wrestled the lead back from Ivana and Korey. After more than an hour of counting, re-counting and guessing, Ivana finally got the right number and she and Korey were off. Bert begging the other teams to give Karen the numbers fell on deaf ears; I genuinely felt badly for Bert, but freaking out and shaking his head made it harder for Karen to count the cockroaches.

It was off to Top Sail Island for the Pit Stop, where Sam and Paul checked in first to score a spot in next week’s season finale and a trip for two to Cape Town, South Africa. With five Leg wins under their belts, Sam and Paul are the team to beat. The trouble for other duos is that even when the dating couple fall behind, they’re able to make up ground in another test. Ivana and Korey have shown amazing growth this season and, if the right challenge is given to them, they could win it all. Kenneth and Ryan have the skills to win any challenge and take out any team and their positive attitude has gotten them out of plenty of jams. Sadly for Bert and Karen, this was the end of their Race and their tearful apologies to each other outside the bug challenge gave me a lump in my throat.

Here’s how the teams finished this Leg of the Race:

  1. Sam and Paul (trip for two to Cape Town)
  2. Ivana and Korey
  3. Kenneth and Ryan
  4. Karen and Bert (eliminated)

The Amazing Race Canada season finale airs next Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET/PT on CTV.

Images courtesy of Bell Media.

 

 

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