Canada’s Handyman Challenge, Episode 7 recap
This is it. The big finale. One of the four contestants will be crowned Canada’s handiest. If I had to pick one…well, I couldn’t. I think it will be either Mark or Brad. Both have been fairly consistent throughout the competition. Brad seems to have more of the hard handy skills, while Mark has the design component nailed. Maggie has performed very well throughout, but skill-wise, she seems the weakest of the four. Greg…tough to say really. He has something that has brought him to the finale, but what that something is, I’m not sure. He truly is the dark-horse contender.
Although this episode has the potential for the most drama, it seems to have gone for the most blah-blah. It features a lot of summarizing, looking back and sometimes makes you feel like you’re trapped in someone else’s summer-camp scrapbook, which is quite the accomplishment considering we’ve been along for the ride.
The show only has one challenge: build an outdoor living space (read: deck). The contestants have eight hours split over two days. They must design and build the structure, as well as decorate and prop it out. Each contestant gets a crew of two to help out, turning the contestants into foremen. Judge Mike Holmes’s kids are in the mix helping to build the decks.
Judge Scott McGillivray breaks things down for us: “We’ve got creativity [shot of Mark], we’ve got consistency [shot of Greg], we’ve got drive [shot of Maggie] and we’ve got authority [shot of Brad...because he's a cop?]“
McGillivray also calls Maggie the most controversial contestant saying she seems to have the highest highs and lowest lows. Of the three judges, Holmes seems to be Maggie’s biggest advocate. If the Twitter chatter that went on during the airing of this episode is anything to go by, Maggie seemed to have the most fans. Going into this final challenge, she’s feeling a bit intimidated. She has to learn how to build a deck as she tries to beat the others. Brad has an ambitious plan for his structure: he’s going to put up a pergola too! Mark has a far out double-decker design with one square platform and one circular one.
“One area will be for the grillin’, the other area will be for chillin’,” the West Coaster says.
Greg just keeps chugging along. At the end of the first day, he’s looking good with 75 per cent of his deck boards down on his structure. He’ll have most of the next day to finesse things. The only other handyman ahead of Greg is Brad, who has all his deck boards down. Mark and Maggie seem well behind, the former bogged down in the thousands of kerf cuts he has to make at the mitre saw in his 2x8s to wrap them around his circular structure. Judge Bryan Baeumler is worried that Mark might not even finish his deck.
The contestants have that evening to revisit and revise their designs. The next day, they are building full tilt. They are only interrupted by a montage of themselves on a shopping spree. Not only do they have to design and build the decks, they have to prop them out. The handyman’s skill set, it seems, overlaps with the decorator’s.
Time runs out on the challenge. Everyone finishes and judges start their deliberations. Each deck is a quality project and each one has some minor structural problems. Baeumler, figuring that all the structural problems are of the same order, suggests that they move on from them in the judging, just take them off the table.
“Not a chance in hell,” says Holmes, the Patron Saint of Code.
During the airing of the show, the judges revisited Baeumler’s sacrilegious comment in their Twitter discussion.
McGillivray: Bryan, did you just ask Mike to forget about code?!
Baeumler: It was so hot, I had to see if he would trade code for a cold beer. No dice!
Holmes: It’s like he hasn’t seen my show or something eh?
As the judging continues on the show, Holmes seems particularly fixated on Mark’s circular structure; the often-overalled one is sure the platform would flip if enough people were jumping on one edge. Baeumler isn’t so sure. He finds structural flaws in Maggie’s deck. Holmes, however, is impressed that Maggie is the only builder who put stairs on her deck. For Holmes, that’s a detail that greatly increases Maggie’s stock. Viewers are reminded how tough this judging is.
The judges need something else to help them come to a decision and to fill out the remaining half hour of the show. They interview each contestant. There are questions about ideas behind the projects and what this competition means and why should you win. After that examination, the judges still need more information before they pick a winner. They look back over the competition to see how the contestants have done over the course of the event. More deliberation.
Finally, the judges and host Jillian Harris have the four contestants before them. It’s the final love-in before a winner is declared. Even after all the episode’s recapping, this moment is touching as the hard-nosed judges praise the handy folk. OK. Now, Harris winds up to announce the winner and—it’s time for one more commercial break.
“Can’t believe @jillianharris just seacrested the winner announcement!” wrote Jenna Fabulous on Twitter. The surname of the host of American Idol is now a verb indicating “the use of a commercial interlude to delay a significant announcement on a reality show.”
With the commercial break over and another recap done, the winner is…is…Mark! The designer from Qualicum Beach, B.C., wins the first season of Canada’s Handyman Challenge. Wait! Is there a second season in the works? Holmes is tweeting as if there is.