Injury takes one team out of the running on The Amazing Race Canada

The Amazing Race Canada is going where it’s never gone before: outside the borders of the True North strong and free.

Next week, the remaining nine teams travel to Hong Kong (which is in China, the promo at the end of this week’s episode helpfully reminds us). But which team won’t board that big ol’ jetliner?

Tuesday’s episode starts in Victoria as the competitors set out on another whirlwind leg. How crazy was it? Well, an unprecedented number of teams switch tasks mid-stream, one couple decides to take not one but TWO penalties, and then there’s that shoulder “pop” that had a nation wincing in sympathy.

Audrey tries to puzzle out what she is supposed to do in the fish sorting challenge. (Hint: sort fish.)

The front-of-the-pack teams (Natalie and Meaghan; Alain and Audrey; Bob and Rex; Nicole and Cormac) make the first flight to Tofino, a small town in the wilds of Vancouver Island’s west coast. (Host Jon Montgomery maintains it’s the “tree-hugging capital of the world.” M’kay.) There are three flights in all, each leaving an hour apart.

Usually that time difference sets up three separate packs of Racers, with the teams in the final group battling each other to escape elimination. But that two-hour time lag doesn’t affect the Race as it usually does this leg, given that the challenges the teams face are daunting, to say the least. Some teams stay strong, others falter and others rise to the occasion.

Audrey and Alain made the smart decision to switch tasks mid-stream, a conclusion reached by many other teams as well.

Rex and Bob tempt the reality-TV gods with this bit of hubris: “I think third is a great place and if we’re not total idiots, we will still be here at the end of the day.” Remember Rex, you said that, not me. The fabulous pair are as TV-ready as always, quick with a quip and letting it all hang out. And a still-crowded roster means the editors are going to focus on the teams with the most drama. This time out, that means Rex and Bob, Alain and Audrey and Jen and Shawn.

The first task is a Detour where teams have to choose between Sharp Knives or Sharp Eyes. The former involves filleting 30 pounds of fish to a preset standard; the latter requires teams to sort 1,000 lbs. of rock fish into five species. The trick on the sorting task is that they are “extremely similar- looking fish,” Jon advises. (Us, not the Racers. They soon figure that twist out for themselves, though.)

Jackie, far left, and Laura switch tasks after realizing they don't have enough fish left to complete the fileting challenge.

But there’s a trick to the fileting challenge as well: once your fish run out, that’s it. If you can’t reach the 30-lb. target, you’re out of luck. This tidbit will come back to bite at least one team in the keister. (This brings up a pet peeve and a key piece of advice for any potential TARC teams: read the clues thoroughly. They are called clues for a reason. Earlier in the episode, Shawn asked a cabbie to take them to Tofino. He and Jen were lucky he didn’t take them at their word: “That’s six hours away,” he pointed out. Read the CLUE. End of rant.)

The first four teams all decide to try their hand at sorting fish, and soon learn they don’t know a rockfish from a hole in the ground. While Rex and Bob stick it out, the other three front-runners (Alain and Audrey; Nicole and Cormac; Meaghan and Natalie) switch over to the fileting task. It’s a wise decision, given that Audrey admits, “I don’t really know what we are doing.” Also smart? Switching to French when the other teams are around. I don’t know if it’s a conscious decision or just part of their bilingual lives, but why give out info if you don’t have to?

Rob hits the wave rather than catching on during the surfing challenge.

Another reason they made the right move? Alain thinks the position of the fishes’ mouths relates to their species. “Look, if you shake it a little bit, its mouth opens!” Audrey helpfully points out, dashing his hopes of becoming the next Charles Darwin.

While they are still at it, the second plane arrives, carrying Laura and Jackie, Sukhi and Jinder and Mickey and Pete. Despite their background in biology, siblings Sukhi and Jinder are no further ahead than other teams when it comes to sorting the fish. They stick with it, though, despite the fish that somehow makes it inside Sukhi’s coveralls.

Mickey and Pete start sorting, then switch to fileting, the task Laura and Jackie chose, despite them not eating fish and all. They aren’t up for it and switch to sorting. The teams are ping-ponging back and forth on this Detour like at no other challenge I can remember. Alain and Audrey finish fileting and are off to the next challenge. They’re followed shortly by Bob and Rex, who finally sort things out with all those fish on their 10th try. When A&A stop for directions, though, Bob and Rex cruise on by. Somehow the two As arrive at the “surf shack” ahead of the pithy pair, but can’t find the clue to save their lives.

Their increasingly tense exchanges provide the backdrop to Rex and Bob finding the clue on the surfboard first and down they go to the beach while Alain and Audrey roam about in frustration. That’s an emotion Rex soon becomes familiar with, as neither he nor Bob are adept at surfboarding. One team member has to ride a wave for three seconds while their partner records the event on a camera.

While they are getting all wet, the back of the pack arrives in Tofino. Rob and Ryan, Pierre and Michel and Mickey and Pete are ecstatic when they arrive at the filleting station, seeing as the Golden Girls and Cormac and Nicole are still at the challenge. That two-hour separation? Poof! Like it never happened.

Oh, man: that's got to hurt. Rob dislocates his shoulder during the surfing challenge.

But the West End Boys commit an Amazing Race cardinal sin: they don’t thoroughly read the instructions. In the filleting challenge, teams must make the 30-lb. mark of acceptable cuts with the fish they are given. Out of fish? Out of luck. They have to switch over to sorting, which the Vancouverites soon learn.

But there’s another factor in play: at the surfing challenge on North Chesterman Beach, Rex and Bob just can’t get it up. (Ahem.) After many failed attempts, they decide to take the penalty and move on. Alain and Audrey, meanwhile, don’t find the challenge that challenging, and that goes ditto for Natalie and Meaghan. Nicole and Cormac finish it handily, while Sukhi and Jinder struggle. (Maybe that should just say “Jinder struggles,” as I don’t think Sukhi gave it a whirl.) Mickey and Pete? Dudes! Mickey not only kills it on the waves, but the pair manage to work it with the ladies as well. Nicely played, boys.

Just up the sand, teams have to create a beach chair out of driftwood, netting and rope. After skipping out on surfing, Bob takes on the job, but isn’t happy with any of his efforts. Rex isn’t happy, period. “I should just walk out into the water and never come back,” he sighs.

But he’s not the only drama on the beach: as Shawn starts to stand up on his surfboard, his face twists in pain and he goes down. His shoulder has popped out and is dislocated. It means a trip to the hospital and having sedation so it can be put back in place.

Meanwhile, the Olympians shred the beach chair challenge, moving up to first after starting third, and land on the mat just ahead of Alain and Audrey once again. Host Jon Montgomery rewards the formidable duo with two round-trip tickets to Hong Kong. (Hee hee! Little do they know that’s their next destination. “That’s indeed right,” he laughs when they jump up and down in excitement with their prize, which also comes with $2,000.)

If they gave medals for jumping for joy, these two would get golds. Natalie, left, and Meaghan celebrate their second winning leg on The Amazing Race Canada.

Audrey and Alain are hot on their heels, followed by Mickey and Pete, who also destroyed the beach chair challenge. The dudes move up to third from their seventh-place start. Cormac and Nicole hold steady in fourth, while Michel and Pierre rocket to fifth from eighth.

And Rex and Bob? They finished third last week, but failing to complete two challenges (they also quit the beach-chair task) means a six-hour penalty, which puts them in last place. Luckily for them, Shawn’s shoulder issue mean he and Jen can’t keep going. It’s game over for the married couple from Nova Scotia, but they go out with a winning attitude.

As Shawn points out, “We just got eliminated from The Amazing Race Canada. Well, the only way you can do that is to be here in the first place.”

So, what did you think of the sophomore episode? Anyone want to start a petition calling for instant elimination if a team throws in the towel TWICE in one leg? Do you have a clear favourite yet, or are you waiting for more of the chaff to be eliminated?

And what about that big news that The Amazing Race Canada is heading to Hong Kong? Smart move, or needless expense? Share your thoughts below and come back tomorrow for my exit interview with Jen and Shawn. I’ll meet you back here late Tuesday night/early Wednesday morning for dim sum and chitter chatter on the Race’s stop in China.

The Amazing Race Canada airs Tuesday on CTV.