The Amazing Race Canada: Week Eight

Amazing Race Canada - Episode  8, Clutch and Release (Photo: CTV)
Amazing Race Canada - Episode 8, Clutch and Release (Photo: CTV)

When we last left our Amazing Racers in snow-covered Nunavut, doctors Brett and Holly had just been eliminated while brothers Jody and Cory cruised into the lead. As the four remaining teams leave the Canadian North behind, sisters Celina and Vanessa have plenty of ground to make up on their way to Nova Scotia.

The teams leave on the same flight to Halifax, levelling the playing field once again, but the sisters face a handicap: they have to pick up a car with a manual transmission and neither of them know how to drive a stick.

This knowledge strikes fear in their hearts and pranksters Jet and Dave pounce, warning them about rolling back on hills and how, if they don’t time it right, the wheels will fall off the car. It’s just a little clowning around, of course, but Celina and Vanessa fall for it hook, line and sinker.

They arrive in Halifax and Cory and Jody try to speed out of the parking lot before they even figure out where they’re going. The Tims get testy with each other as driver Tim Sr. gets lost—they’ve dealt with tons of frustration and disappointment already, so it’s hard to see why Tim Jr. is so worked up about a wrong turn.

The sisters have exactly as much difficulty with their car as anyone learning to drive standard—with no teacher—would expect. Celina takes the wheel with Vanessa cheering her on in the back seat, but the sound of the grinding transmission tells us exactly how skilled the elder sister is.

The teams all arrive at historic Pier 21, Canada’s version of Ellis Island, to find they have to spend the night on the concrete lobby floor. This irks Dave and Jet—who complain about having a sore back and not being able to sleep—but motivates the brothers to try to out-sleep their competitors. They rise for the museum’s opening at 6 a.m., then have to approach a replica immigration desk to receive a passport, which they’ll have to mark seven times with stamps hidden throughout the building.

Jet and Dave get ahead of the brothers to take over first place, but their lead is razor-thin and slips away quickly at the Road Block.

The Tims get on Cory’s nerves by tailing him toward the Road Block, but there’s nothing strategic or sly about Team Tim’s shadowing—Junior has lost track of his map, leaving his dad no choice but to try to keep up. The brothers try to lose their pursuers in a gas station, but Tim Jr. retrieves his map and when Cory drives the wrong way, Tim Sr. breaks away and starts to build a lead.

At the Road Block, a member of each team must search the town of Mahone Bay, N.S.—home of the Scarecrow Festival—for specific scarecrows, bring one back to the town square, and build its twin out of a massive pile of clothing and accessories. Right off the bat Jet goes the wrong direction, while Cory completes the challenge with ease—brother Jody jokes that he was “third in his [scarecrow-building] class in high school.”

Jet struggles mightily even after finding his scarecrow, failing the doppelganger test by trying to fudge his duplicate without giving it any arms. Dave’s frustration becomes obvious as he points out Jet has been working at his task—though working is a strong word, we mostly see Jet standing and staring—for going on two hours. Tim Jr. finishes his scarecrow to put his team into second and back in a direct race with the brothers. Meanwhile, Vanessa’s having a whale of a time playing dress-up with her scarecrow, but that doesn’t help her team gain much ground.

The brothers arrive first at the Detour, where they choose between “surf” and “turf”: fishing for real Atlantic lobsters or taste-testing and memorizing a dozen types of sausage. They choose surf and jump on a fishing boat to snag some lobsters. The Tims choose turf even though Tim Jr. has had difficulty with memorization in the past, but they break the task down and blast through it on their first try.

Jet finally finishes his scarecrow—still fudging the arms but doing a better job of concealing his deception—and he and Dave set out on their own lobster fishing trip. The brothers are all business with their lobsters, but Jet and Dave squirm and squeal like a pair of arachnophobes trying to kiss a tarantula. The dudes gingerly wrap their catch’s claws with rubber bands while quipping “this one’s a righty!” and celebrate with a lively, full-throated sea chanty. They then set out to a local historic church in pursuit of the brothers and the Tims, fully expecting to have the U-Turn used on them—after all, it was Team Tim that put Hal and Joanne out of commission with a U-Turn in Saskatchewan. But they arrive to find the Tims have decided to play a fairer game, so they pay it forward but refusing to make the sisters’ bad day even worse.

Speaking of Celina and Vanessa, the sisters smartly choose the turf challenge, then proceed to have an impossible time remembering the German names of the sausages, forcing them to run back and re-memorize the samples. At every turn it seems the sisters’ race goes awry, and it’s almost a sure thing we won’t see them next week.

The next clue leads the teams to their final destination, the Bluenose II we all recognize from our Canadian dimes. The brothers finish first, followed by the Tims and Jet and Dave, leaving the sisters to bring up the rear. They—and we—fully expect this to be the end of Celina and Vanessa, but this isn’t a Pit Stop! The race continues on to Newfoundland, where next week we’ll watch the racers get screeched in and maybe—just maybe!—we’ll find out who’s in our final three.

Drew Berner

Drew Berner is a freelance writer born and raised in Toronto and specializing in entertainment, sports and politics. He occasionally collects vinyl records, enjoys hate-watching the Blue Jays, appreciates good beer and great scotch, and goes to sleep each night with 120 lbs. of Great Dane draped over him (it’s a lot more comfortable than it sounds). Follow him on Twitter @DrewBerner for photos of huge dogs, observational humour and assorted sports rage.

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