We resume the Race in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada; there are now only five teams still racing and we're due for two more eliminations! Workmates Paul & Steve head out in first place at 10:11 PM with their first clue directing them to travel by bus to Banff. Banff?! Sheesh, that's a good long bus ride. Why not tell the teams to drive themselves to Banff? Further, they're using charter buses again, leaving an hour apart. Steve is very excited, having visited Banff on his own in the past. Paul thinks police officers Shane & Andrew are their biggest rivals now, but he still admires their effort; boy, why wasn't Paul being edited this nicely about, oh, 9 episodes ago?
Shane & Andrew are almost two hours behind Paul & Steve when they exit the Pit Stop. Shane acknolwedges they have a reputation as being "stupid cops." They wind up signing on the first charter bus with Paul & Steve; the other three teams are placed on the 2nd bus. Twin sisters, Michelle/Jo, siblings Joseph/Grace and sisters Lucy/Emilia are on the latter vehicle. Shane describes being on the first bus with Andrew, Paul & Steve as putting the "heavyweights" out front. The two teams trade a few friendly barbs with each other; as Paul does some boasting about his experience with winter sports, Shane opines "if Paul's head gets any bigger it's gonna explode."
The 2nd bus is clearly the fun bus; the three teams of siblings start having some fun as the ladies fix each other's hair; discovering Michelle & Jo wear extensions, Emilia puts them on and pretends to be their third sister, then goes on to masquerade as Jo claiming, "You know me 'cause I've got better boobs." The teams are also very smitten with the countryside.
In Banff, the first bus arrives and Shane/Andrew & Paul/Steve race to Wild Bill's saloon, where they find their next clue: teams must now don flannel western garb and ride a mechanical bull for up to 60 seconds (both team member's total); if they choose to remain on the bull beyond the 60 seconds, the team with the most time accumulated will receive a bonus prize. I suppose the danger is, staying on the bull will slow down their racing progress; it's actually a pretty good balance for a prize. Shane & Andrew begin the task first and finish first; they decide to go for the bonus prize and keep going; this seems to fire up Paul & Steve too.
Meanwhile, the second bus has arrived and the other three teams head to Wild Bill's. Paul & Steve decide to leave the challenge after collecting 78 seconds because Paul's hand is being cut up by the ropes on the bull. Shane & Andrew decide to leave after 149 seconds. Their next clue directs them to the Junk Yards at Rundle Mountain, but it won't open until 8:30 AM. Since it's still night, the two leading teams wait at Wild Bill's as the other three teams begin the challenge. Jo decides to beat Paul & Steve's 78 seconds at the very least; Lucy/Emilia & Joseph/Grace agree, each wanting to beat the front runners at something. "Let them have their fun," says Paul. Michelle & Jo end at 101 seconds, Lucy & Emilia at 80. Paul & Steve later share some banter with their friends Lucy & Emilia:
Steve: "I do my riding better in the bedroom!"
Paul: "Lasts about the same amount of time, 15 seconds."
Joseph & Grace are still riding the bull; Grace really wants the special prize and as Joseph is pretty good at the task, they keep going. When Shane & Andrew see the siblings are starting to catch up, they resume riding (which they're allowed to do) and begin collecting more seconds. So, now it's a race to see who gives up first! Shane's hand is getting bruised, but so is Grace's; when Shane & Andrew reach 201, Joseph takes charge and declares they should give up before Grace injures herself any further. "You need to think about the other legs," is Joseph's rationale to Grace. Joseph & Grace congratulate Shane & Andrew, who are pleased to have held out just long enough. Shane & Andrew are given the bull-riding prize, which is a 30-minute headstart over the other teams! Hey, it really was worth holding out for, considering the circumstances! It isn't much, but Andrew notes many legs come down less than 30 minutes difference between teams.
In the morning, teams drive themselves to the Junk Yards. Shane & Andrew's headstart means they enter at 8:30 - but no one else! The other teams are held back until 9:00, which is a little stinky; it's not so much a headstart as a "hold the others back." Now, it's time for the Roadblock: one team member must climb up a frozen waterfall (a popular Amazing Race task in icy climes). Shane takes the challenge and begins climbing, a little worried about his bruised hand from the bull riding. At 9:00 the other teams enter the task; Paul, Lucy, Joseph & Jo take the Roadblock for their teams. Shane has already reached the top and grabbed his next clue; they leave the task before the other teams begin.
Now it's time for the Detours: "Search" or "Ski." In "Search," teams head to Lake Louise and use an avalanche rescue beacon to search through snow to find its receiver.
In "Ski," teams head to Lake Louise and must both ski downhill through a flagged obstacle course without making any mistakes. Shane & Andrew choose "Ski." Back at the Junk Yards, Paul begins talking about his strategy for climbing, hoping to use his weight and strength to his advantage. Jo tells him, "I think I'm just gonna use Paul's head there, I'm gonna (makes 'stabbing' noises & gestures), that's how I'm gonna get up, Paul!" Reflecting on this, Paul can only say, "...Gee, that was a nice thing to let me know!" The other four teams begin their Roadblock; Michelle points out to Steve how Jo has outpaced Paul and Steve admits, "His pride will be wounded!" Paul does manage to overtake her, thanks to his superior strength. Meanwhile, Lucy is saying "I'm not going to die today," to herself. Paul beats the other three teams to the clue, but Jo is fast behind, followed by Joseph.
Shane & Andrew are donning their equipment for "Ski," while Lucy is still on the Roadblock and very frightened. Lucy finally makes it to the top, deeply impressing Emilia. At "Ski," Shane hasn't skiied since he was 18; Andrew hasn't so much as been in snow before. "He was like a baby giraffe trying to find his feet," is how Shane describes Andrew's skiing. As Paul & Steve head to "Ski," Steve admits he didn't ski on his previous visit to Banff, but Paul is still very confident in his skiing prowess. Being gracious, Paul agrees to do "Search" for Steve's sake.
Shane & Andrew finish "Ski" on their second attempt and receive the next clue: journey to the Great Divide and navigate a dogsled through a course. As they depart, Andrew wonders why Paul & Steve choose the slower Detour, given Paul's skill at skiing. Michelle, Jo, Joseph & Grace are all preparing for "Ski," but none have skiied before and can't even figure out how to put their skis on. Grace collides into a snowboarder and then hits on a great idea: ask him for skiing instructions (as none are provided for the teams). Grace's charms work for her once more as he happily explains how to ski. Grace finishes the course before the other three Racers. Grace worries that Joseph won't listen to her instructions because she's the younger sister; she manifests this concern by yelling at him to listen to her.
Paul & Steve have had zero luck at "Search" and finally decide to switch tasks, which means going back to the entrance at Lake Louise to pick up skis then back up to the ski hill. Lucy & Emilia are just beginning "Ski," even though Emilia admits they were both terrified of skiing going into the leg. They ultimately decide to try "Search." Joseph finally waddles to the bottom of the hill, following Grace's instructions; they head to the Great Divide.
At the Great Divide, Shane & Andrew are super excited as they begin the dogsled challenge. Paul & Steve begin "Ski," with Paul sharing pointers to Steve. In a voiceover, Paul boasts of his skiing prowess, but the editors muck with him, showing him slipping over on the snow and smacking Steve in the head with his ski pole (which is actually a little scary, given how close the pole comes to Steve's eye). Michelle finishes the course, followed by Paul. Jo is struggling, but not as badly as Steve.
Shane & Andrew collect their next clue, which is found hanging in a fir tree and are directed to the Chateau Lake Louise to find their next clue inside of an ice sculpture. They return to their car and begin the drive. Back at "Ski," Jo finishes the course ahead of Steve, much to the twins' glee. Both teams head to the Great Divide. Lucy & Emilia are getting flustered at "Search," unable to understand how to use the beacon. "I will dig all the freaking snow in all of Canada and Alaska! I will find it!" vows Emilia.
At the Great Divide, Joseph & Grace begin the dogsled course. Grace likes the dogs, but complains about one who poos while running, although she admits "that's one talented dog." At the Chateau, Shane & Andrew find their clue and find the tools provided for them to retrieve the clue are pretty silly - things like a tea cup. They choose a bottle opener and start chipping the clue free of the ice. Lucy & Emilia finally locate their transceiver and head to the Great Divide.
Michelle/Jo & Paul/Steve begin the dogsled course just as Joseph & Grace exit. At the Chateau, Shane & Andrew retrieve the clue and are directed to the Pit Stop: the Banff Springs Hotel! While Michelle & Jo race behind Paul & Steve on the dogsled course, they reflect on how disappointing it is to be behind them "all the time" (a slight exaggeration). At the Chateau, Grace chooses a stiletto heel shoe to break out the clue, which works very nicely.
At the Banff Springs Hotel, Shane & Andrew go running to the Pit Stop in white cowboy hats; for an instant I thought I was looking at Jet & Cord from the US Amazing Race! Host Grant Bowler greets them alongside a uniform-dressed RCMP officer. Grant awards 1st place to Shane & Andrew along with $10,000 from Swisse. "The stupid cops are just starting to warm up," Shane declares. Joseph & Grace retrieve the clue and head to the Pit Stop.
Paul/Steve & Michelle/Jo arrive at the Chateau and the former team begins trying to break open the marker to the clue which Shane & Andrew already removed! Their tunnel vision is such that they don't notice the other markers along the way have clue envelopes located beneath them. Michelle & Jo realize this and keep it to themselves as they quietly go after their own clue. Paul & Steve knock the marker on to the ground, so they resume bashing it on the ground.
Lucy & Emilia perform the dogsled ride at the Great Divide then head to the Chateau. Paul & Steve finally smash the marker into pieces and still don't realize what it means as they look around confused. Michelle & Jo collect their clue and head to the Pit Stop, absolutely ecstatic at beating Paul & Steve. Even after the twins leave, Paul & Steve have no idea how they did it and keep hammering at the pieces. Steve finally gets up, walks past the other markers and sees they still have clues beneath them. They laugh at themselves, but realize they've senselessly squandered time. Paul does think Steve "laughed a bit too much."
At the Pit Stop, Joseph & Grace claim 2nd place and Michelle & Jo are 3rd. Paul & Steve finally get their clue and head to the Pit Stop. Lucy & Emilia arrive soon after and see the shattered remains of the marker Paul & Steve destroyed, causing them to wonder what happened. Emilia assumes Paul & Steve tore at the marker with their hands and teeth. They quickly get their clue out using the shoe, icepick of choice!
Paul & Steve claim 4th place and admit to Grant they made a lot of mistakes. Lucy & Emilia start tearing up as they head to the Pit Stop, knowing their time must be up. Sure enough, Grant has to eliminate them. The sisters hug and cry. Lucy sums it up: "As much as you sit there and you curse the Amazing Race for making you do all these things, after it's done, you get to look back at it and you go, hee! I did that! I did that!"
It's an immense pity to see Lucy & Emilia go; they had heart, determination and loved the experience of testing themselves. They're everything I point to in what sort of teams I like to see on the show: devoted to each other, driven to succeed, overjoyed by the world around them. By all rights, they should have been eliminated in leg 1; making it this far is a fine achievement.
We have just four teams left!
- Shane & Andrew: Before the season started, I assumed these two would place at the top for at least half the Race; I was dumbfounded at how... dumbfounded they seemed in the early legs. In the past few legs, they've shown the strength and intelligence I figured them for and it's good to see them reach the brass ring.
- Joseph & Grace: Grace needs to express herself to Joseph without resorting to shrieks (ASAP!), but otherwise they were decent enough this time out, especially in how Grace learned skiing.
- Michelle & Jo: Jo showed some moxie when she managed the Roadblock, something Michelle has repeatedly wanted to see from her (and she's kept delivering). Their repeated harping on Paul & Steve was tiresome, but probably necessary to keep themselves motivated.
- Paul & Steve: Wow, they fell pretty far this leg and all due to bad decisions they made; it's a good reminder that in the Amazing Race, the positions can change without warning. Which sets us up for...
Next timeTomorrow: The series heads to China for the penultimate leg!