Sunday, June 09, 2019

Battle of the Sexes 2 Episode 12: Parannoyed

Once again, I'm procrastinating in regard to posting old recaps. This time, I can't bitch about how much I missed the "old days" because War Of The Worlds provided a decent ending, with Turkish demigod Turbo beating Theo and Wes for the $750,000 grand prize. Natalie Duran finished fourth, unable to collect any of the $1 million purse . . . but she did outlast Cara Maria. Seriously, Cara's descent from being the woman you wanted to root for (at least compared to the others) has been a sad storyline in recent seasons. She's just unbearable to watch these days, and that's not taking into account her relationship with the toxic Paulie. I feel bad for Theo and Natalie, who started off WotW partnered with Cara Maria and Paulie, respectively. They probably had to hear all of their gross hook-up stories. "So there we were at Wendy's. It's two in the morning, and we saw the 'Out Of Order' sign on the door of the men's restroom. We looked at each other, and we knew what had to be done. Namely, each other."

The bad news is that Bunim-Murray Productions has elected not to end the franchise on a high note, as the 34th season is currently filming. Even more sadly, most of the "usual suspects" are playing, including headaches familiar (Johnny) and new (Stephen Bear). There are a few new names thrown in, and we might be getting the return of Jordan and Tori, who have become a tight couple away from the cameras. Also: Turbo would be back. As much as I fear that he'd get sucked into the drama, I'd say he's the brightest spot this series has right now.

This episode? Meh. More of the guys stomping on the women, the women involved in intrateam drama, and another ridiculous mission. Also, the real "fun" would take place in the following episode.

Episode Aired: December 20, 2004
Recap Posted: December 25, 2004 [my 29th birthday!]

Tonya decides to play it safe and not lead, which ticks off her teammates. Meanwhile, the players catch shredded food.

Previously on Battle of the Sexes 2: The women’s team won Pop Culture Bike Jump, improving their record to 2-8. Hey, it’s not how a team does in the first 15 missions, but how well they do in the finale. Coral interviewed that the win gave the team hope. The men ejected Frank, while the Women’s Inner Circle made a list, checked it twice, and kicked Veronica out over Tonya. Later on, Tonya challenged the team over voting methods, only to get stalemated.  “They better just wait,” she interviewed, “because this gives me more drive to cream them tomorrow and not give a flying [bleep] if they go home.” Way to show team spirit.

It’s daytime in the Women’s Lounge. Tonya talks to Ibis about how her opinion was attacked. Tonya interviews that four girls didn’t back her up (Sophia, Ruthie, Ibis, Tina), and they made her livid. Ibis tells her the people were pissed off at her. Tonya feels nobody would let her complete her sentences. Ibis interviews that Tonya is flipping out. She tells Tonya she’s being paranoid. “The moment there’s a weakness in you,” she adds, “they will [bleeping] drill that [bleep].” Tonya interviews that she is worried about her position. “Bring on the next mission,” she continues, “so I can vote off one of these [a-holes.].”

Any drama going down at the Men’s Lounge? Nope, unless you count Theo taking a nap on a couch, and the guys covering him with whatever they can find. “We’re just having fun,” Randy interviews. “Our strategy is just to have a good time with this.” Theo wakes up, a little cranky about the stuff he’s buried under.

It’s clue time! Steven announces that they got a message from Jonny. Shane: “What does that [bleeper] say?” The message: get ready to get dirty. Flip to Tina as she reads: “What goes up must come down.” Also, wearing team colors and tennis shoes. Ruthie figures they’ll be bungee-jumping into a “big bucket of dirt.” Given the previous missions, that’s not quite farfetched.

Today’s mission site has what appears to be two large wood chippers. In other news, Eric has his jump rope around his neck, and Theo and Tonya hold hands as they walk. Randy interviews that he has no clue what they’ll be doing. Jonny welcomes the kids to the next mission: The Shredder. The objective: catch food coming out of the shredders. By the way, the shredders are capable of ripping up small trees, and that’s why drinking the night before a mission is a bad idea. Okay, I made up that last bit. Mark interviews that they have to launch 6,000 lbs. of material through the shredder, which the teams must catch with buckets mounted on helmets. Jonny adds that two people per team are responsible for loading the food into the shredder. Once all the food is gone, the mission is over. The team with the most amount of food caught wins. Today’s prize is a twofer: a trip for two to the Bahamas, and shoes with computer chips embedded in them. This is supposed to help with support, but I think it has more to do with the producers wanting to track the players down. Jonny gives both sides the usual thirty minutes to pick leaders.

Immediately, Mark volunteers himself and Shane, since neither player has stepped up in a while. Eric goes forward to complete the list. Mark interviews that if the team wins, the leaders are safe. Brad figures if they put twice as much food into the shredder as the women, they will win.

Speaking of the women, Robin steps up to lead, but nobody else seems to be as eager. Coral interviews about the difficulty to be enthusiastic over the possibility of going home. She tells the team she’s led three times. Ibis finally steps up. She interviews about Tonya following her, since Tonya has not led three times. But Tonya just sits there like a lump. “It sucks that people are that paranoid,” Ibis interviews. “If you’re that insecure, there’s something wrong.”

After commercials, Tonya explains to us that she’s not stepping up because she doesn’t trust her teammates, and she’s looking out for herself. I can understand the rationale, but that philosophy is going to get her whacked soon. Finally, Ruthie offers herself to lead. Coral asks if she and Tina can load the shredder.

After Jonny calls the leaders to reveal themselves, he orders them to get the meat from the truck. If you’re thinking this is edible stuff, think again. Remember, this is reality television. The players get a big whiff of the spoiled meat and assorted vegetable, and they recoil from the stench. Tina interviews about the blocks, and I’m certain the world “block” should never be associated with meat. The food is gather in a square. Ibis: “There’s no words to describe anything or compare anything to it. It’s just gross.”

Steven interviews that the guys always practice before a mission. We see Eric lob a water bottle into Randy’s helmet bucket. Mark goes over the team strategy: he’ll grab the meat and pass it to Eric, who will feed it to the shredder. In the field, co-leader Shane will negotiate the other players to catch the food. What is Coral’s strategy? “Do exactly what the boys are doing,” she tells Tina. “They always win, so copy them.” Coral interviews that she’ll give the material to Tina, who will put it in the shredder.

Jonny blows his air horn to kick things off. Both teams waste little time launching and catching the food products, then dumping it into their respective containers. Coral interviews that it is difficult to get a big stream on her teammates. One of the girls gets hit with a huge chunk of something. In fast-motion, we see the difference in loading; Tina shoves the food in one chunk at a time, while Eric lines up several blocks and shoves it all in. Dan compares the mission to being in a war and moving soldiers. Cut to one of the guys (Randy or Theo) getting tagged in the nuts by a chunk. To emphasize the hilarity, the editors show it three times, punctuated with a doorbell. There’s more talk over the consistency of vegetables through the shredder, but it’s mostly boring. Both sides are covered in debris, while the background music wails, “Bored in America! Bored in America!” Seriously, what?

Finally, Jonny blows his horn to end the mission. Theo: “That’s exactly what a garbage disposal feels like!” Shane thinks that they would have caught more stuff. Robin decides to jump on Mark, since he went through the mission without getting dirty. Mark calls the experience “kind of erotic, in a weird way.”

Jonny asks the women to bring up their container. It weighs in at 25.75 lbs. “I just want to win,” Steven interviews. “We all want to win, period.” The guys’ total weight comes in at 30.25 lbs. To give some perspective: out of the 6,000 lbs. of food brought less than one percent got caught. Anyway, the guys win yet again, getting the trips to the Bahamas and the fancy shoes. Jonny goes over the Inner Circle spiel: male leaders pick out team member, ladies’ team leaders are up for elimination. “I really don’t even want to think about who’s going home,” Ruthie interviews, “because anybody going home today is a big asset to the team.”

Men’s Lounge, Boys’ Inner Circle Meeting. Mark goes over penalties and disqualifications. Brad is clean. Steven? Clean. Randy? Well, he was a penalty and a disqualification. Cut to a scene from Fill 'Er Up, where Randy grabs the container as he spits into it. “You know when it’s your turn to go home,” Shane interviews. “You know where your standing is. Nobody’s confused, nobody’s surprised.” Mark notes that Randy should be happy to have gotten this far.

Women’s Lounge, Girls’ Inner Circle Meeting. Tonya wants to figure out who the two best players are, so she may team up with them at the end. Coral brings up a legitimate concern: the final mission always comes down to a puzzle. She adds that it might not be a good idea to ditch a “puzzle person.” Sad to say, that didn’t keep the Road Rules team from dumping Steve into the Gauntlet twice.

Over at the Main Lodge, Ibis and Robin have a chat. Ibis thinks two people are not stepping up. Robin interviews that it isn’t fair that the weaker players are voting.

Back at the Women’s Lounge, Tonya discounts Robin from elimination, and mentions that Ruthie has been stepping it up. Tina would also want Robin and Ruthie at the end, so she votes for Ibis. Coral: “Here’s what I’m thinking in my head: who’s gonna go over there and get my money for me?” You guys make your own jokes, because I still like her. She brings up Ibis’s alleged skills in puzzles. Sophia backs Coral up, interviewing about how Ibis is an essential part of the team. Coral asks the group if there’s another “puzzle person” within the ranks.

Cut to Elimination Hill. We get close-ups of Ibis, Robin and Randy. Robin is fooling around with a jump rope. I am honestly scared that Eric is starting a cult at this point. Randy is wearing a t-shirt with a boy’s picture on it. I’m guessing it’s a shout-out, but it looks unflattering. Jonny goes through the motions before throwing it to the boys. The Inner Circle walks up, and Eric and Mark have jump ropes. The camera pans to the rest of the boys looking stern, then to Randy with a goofy grin on his face. Mark reminds everybody about how penalties and disqualifications are important to determine who goes home, then drops the axe on Randy. Of course, Randy has no hard feelings about the decision, saying that he’s happy and that the team did good.

Guess who’s going to announce the ladies’ decision? Come on, guess for me. None other than Sophia “Weepy Reaper” Pasquis. I like her, but the best reason to dump her at this point is so she wouldn’t have to do this anymore. She doesn’t want any of the three leaders to go home. For a second, I think Ruthie’s a goner, since Sophia has precided over the bootings of two lesbians already. But our unlucky loser is Ibis, who sadly nods her head. Poor girl... between this and her voluntarily taking a fall in RR: X-Treme, I feel bad for her. She hugs Sophia and manages to whimper that the game has been fun. She is then hugged by Robin and Ruthie, then tells her team that she wants them to win. Tonya smiles a little, and I think we’ve found our late-season villain. Jonny declares that Ibis and Randy were great competitors, but they know the deal: get off the property by 10 p.m., or Old Man Moseley comes after them with a shotgun.

Back at the Women’s Lounge, Robin comforts Ibis, saying that there are people on the team that do not need to be here. Ibis seconds that emotion, and we cut to a shot of Arissa, Tina and Tonya. “They’re playing this game,” Ibis interviews as we see her pack up, “acting like likes and hiding behind other people. Their time will come, and they’ll look like idiots. You can’t delay the inevitable.” Poor Ibis. She doesn’t know that when it comes to BMP shows, karma just lets things slip. She repeats her line to Ruthie, ordering her to “get them the [bleep] out of here, because they’ve been riding this thing for free long enough.”

Over at the Men’s Lounge, the mood is happy. Theo: “I feel like this is an orphanage, and Randy just got adopted.” The guys laugh, as does Randy. He isn’t bitter, and he is happy to know that their system works. Theo interviews that the decisions are based on performance, but it keeps getting harder. “There’s so few of us left,” he adds. “You make a wrong decision, and you can go home.” He tells Randy that Steve got to pet him while he slept. I won’t ask.

Outside, Ruthie schemes. You heard me. The same woman who got steamrolled in BOTS1 by Emily is making plans. She tells Sophia that Tonya needs to go for not leading three times. She adds that if Sophia is in the Inner Circle, then Arissa or Tonya would have to go. Ruthie interviews that some players are flying under the radar. “If other people are strategizing in this game and playing it,” she adds, “then I have to play it too.” She tells Sophia that “she’s been the worst player out of all of us.” We cut to a shot of Tonya, so I guess that’s who Ruthie is talking about. Sophia figures that the game will be more strategic.

Time to say goodbye. Ibis heads for the van, getting hugged by Tonya. I’m guessing that either Tonya hates what she did, or she had to pull the salad fork sticking from Ibis’s back. “I’m willing to do this,” Tonya interviews, “and do whatever it takes and sacrifice a great friendship, because I want to win at the end. I’m going out for blood.” Shut up, you Emily wannabe.

Next time: Tonya takes center stage again. She seems to be getting loaded at a club, smacking her head on a couch arm. The mission? I have no clue what it’s about. But guess what? Steven hits Shane, and Jonny brings up the no violence rule. Could the biggest punk of RW: Las Vegas be going home? We can only hope. In the meantime, have a safe and festive holiday season!

"Weepy Reaper." Damn, I didn't mean to insult Sophia. Sadly, her worst moment was a few episodes into the future.

Eliminated player recaps? Oh, right.Randy would return one last time, winning alongside the Rookies in Gauntlet 2. I did not remember that until I looked it up on Wikipedia . . . and I recapped that season. I guess Randy was forgettable due to a lack of screentime with his "bromance" buddy Brad. They were cute together on the original RW: San Diego, especially when they did Halloween dressed as Mario & Luigi.

Ibis also returned in Gauntlet 2, and also was on the winning Rookies team. Once again, I did not remember this. Unlike Randy, she would return for one last season . . . the utter hateable clusterfuck that was The Ruins. She was on the Champions team, but would lose in the Ruins (the elimination game) to Kimberly. Kimberly was on RW: Hollywood, another season that needed to be buried fifty feet deep, with the hole filled with fresh concrete. In the prior season (Duel II, which probably peaked at the beginning, where CT beat the snot out of Adam), Kimberly took out Robin and Ruthie (in her final Challenge) before getting defeated in a Duel with Jenn from RW: Denver. Isn't Wikipedia wonderful? I'll stop the online dive here, lest I so so deep as to never surface

Tuesday, May 07, 2019

Battle of the Sexes 2 Episode 11: Trivial Pursuit


I'm back. I know, it's been a while. I'm guessing that there's not much demand for recaps of The Challenge back before it became THE CHALLENGE, but I would like to provide documentation of the show back when I was recapping it . . . as well as my frustration at that time. As bad as it might have been in this episode, it would get a lot worse.

Back to today, The Challenge: War of the Worlds is almost finished. Thankfully, this season will not drag on like Final Reckoning did, and there won't be an opportunity for someone to channel Johnny or Ashley, screwing a partner out of earned money. The bad news is that the headaches outnumber the sane people. Also, Stephen Bear -- the Brit whom BMP signed to a long-term contract -- has proved himself to be "must watch" television. In his case, that comes out to "being a fucking asshole for money." I swear, he's basically the vision Puck probably saw on RW: San Francisco way back in 1994 . . . acting like a total dick and profiting greatly from it. The only other "rookie" that can fully negate him is Turabi Çamiran  . . . winner of back-to-back seasons of the Turkish edition of Survivor, and a man that lives up to the nickname "Turbo." He's had spats with the likes of Hunter Barfield (the southerner that got screwed by Ashley last season) and Natalie Duran (one of the second-tier females from American Ninja Warrior), but most of the opinions about him have been positive. I'd be good with him winning the $750,000 grand prize. Or Wes. Yes, the casting has gotten so toxic, I'm actually rooting for Wes. And seeing how he helped nudge Johnny out of the game so early AND outlasted Bear, I think maybe he's earned a third title.

As for this episode? It's one of the three wins that the girls' team got this season, and Arissa gets a heroic moment. The mission is a forerunner to the infamous trivia contests of today, that usually involve falling from great heights into water and the sadism of TJ Lavin. Sadly, the worse was yet to come, and my days recapping the series on a somewhat well-regarded recap site were numbered. I blame a lot of these people. Especially Eric Nies and that damn jump rope.

Oh, and there are references to Survivor: Vanuatu and The Amazing Race 6; the latter of which was a trainwreck all its own. How host Phil Keoghan kept from pummeling Jonathan Baker, I will never know.

 Episode Aired: December 13, 2004

 Recap Posted: December 19, 2004
 

The players deal with an unholy marriage of pop culture and biking. Can the women's team win? Will Arissa overcome her fears? And because nobody demanded it: Eric and his jump rope!

Before we begin, I want to congratulate Chris Daugherty for his win in Survivor: Vanuatu. Chris faced odds tougher than Sarah and Katie ever face, as his buddies got picked off and he was the last man standing against six strong women. But with a combination of skill, strength, and dumb luck, he pulled it off. I also want to thank Twila Tanner for putting the tasty gravy on this sour turkey of a season. She played the game hard, she clued Chris in on voting strategy, and she became the only finalist to fling accusations right back in the face of the jury. With Survivor on a brief hiatus, it's time to focus on more important things. Namely, conjuring up appropriate punishments for Jonathan Baker of The Amazing Race 6. Right now, I'd hand him over to the women's team. Eighteen girls, thirty-six hands, and the massive forehead of Coral Smith. It would be painful and fun to watch.

Previously on Battle of the Sexes 2: Tonya fooled around with Theo, leading to a new Theoism: "Tonya and I are like two kids in summer camp sneaking across the lake in the middle of the night to go play crazy games with each other's body parts." Arissa's fear of heights caused her team to lose Sa-Wing. The guys won Electro-Shock, taking their record to 8-1. Nick and Aneesa were sent packing. Coral: "The more we lose, the worse we feel. I have no idea why we can't just win."

Hot tubbin' at night. Tonya bitches to Theo about how her teammates keep doubting her. She brings up her two penalties in Snake Pit Poker. Cut to a flashback of said mission, with new footage of Coral cussing Tonya out. Theo interviews that Tonya is a good competitor, but the others think she drives them crazy. "I hate to say it," he adds, "but the way you behave has a little bit of an effect." Tonya is still determined to kick butt in the missions. "I have the mindset and the physical capability to be here," she interviews, "but I still have those two penalties riding over my head."

And now, something for the diehard fans: a montage of Eric Nies and his jump rope. Seriously! We get shots of him jumping. Shane refers to his apparatus as a "stupid [bleepin'] jump rope," and adds that everything Eric does revolves about it. Eric clanks the ends together in one scene, then whips it around before competing in High Noon. "My rope represents focus, dedication, discipline, determination," Eric interviews with a straight face. "That's what a rope is all about." Cut to the men's first meeting, where Eric instructs the team to speak while holding the rope. Brad interviews that the rope is everywhere. He laughs, "I hate that rope, man!" Coral: "It might be a security rope. Maybe it's the missing link in his brain. I don't know." Eric lies down with the rope over his face. Eric mediates with the rope. He interviews: "I feel confident that my rope's going to create peace, love, unity and teamwork, especially with this group of guys." Cut to Eric twirling the rope around and yodeling.I can't begin to explain that.

It's clue time! Tonya reads the instructions off the sponsor phone: wear protective clothing and tennis shoes, be ready to go by 9 a.m. Shane reads the last sentence: "Go big or go home." Ah, the Tao of James Orlando. Some days, I actually miss the lunkhead. Coral interviews that the losing streak is difficult to endure, since they can't pinpoint the exact problems. "As soon as we hit rock bottom," she adds, "that is the best time for us to fight harder."

The kids arrive at the mission site, walking past an ambulance and checking out some huge ramps. Today's mission? Pop Culture Bike Jump. Veronica: "I see a big ramp, and I'm like, 'Ooo, yeah, the girls are really gonna win today!' There's another loss!" Jonny lays down the exposition about the ramps: they come at eight, eleven, and fourteen feet high. The players are expected to jump off the ramp with the bikes. Frank feels that the guys are confident to win. We fast forward through several people competing as we head to commercial.

Jonny explains the rules: one player from each side at a time comes up to compete. They are given an option of picking a ramp to jump or answering a pop culture question. The ramps range from one to three points. On a side note, Eric has the rope draped over his head. Jonny says that the back wheel must go off the ramp and the player has to be on the bike in order for the points to count. They'll be tethered to cords, since they're not exactly on the same level as Dave Mirra. Now, if a player takes the question and gets it right, that person can pick any ramp to earn six points. Coral interviews that stereotypes dictate that the women win this mission. Brad explains that a wrong answer results in no jump. The winning team gets massage chairs, valued at $800 apiece. Coral bellows in joy, and I can't think of anybody more in need of a massage chair. Jonny gives both sides the usual thirty minutes to pick leaders.

On the men's side, four players want to lead: Frank, Shane, Brad, and Theo. Shane's name gets drawn not to lead. On the opposite side, Tina and Arissa step up. Tina interviews that she wants to be a leader since she knows they'll win. Sophia completes the roster. Tina tells the team that have to give 200 percent. Arissa interviews that the guys will be horrible with pop culture. Meanwhile, the guys are cramming for potential questions. Theo asks Eric to name his roommates on his season of The Real World. The group argues over what would come up. Sophia leads her team in a huddle, since the events from last week are obviously still hurting her. That, and she still has the straight hair. "Let's win our respect and our pride back," she says. They break into a cheer: "GO BIG OR GO HOME!"

The leaders are announced. Dan and Sophia are the first ones to compete. Dan wants the question, while Sophia is content to go for three points. Jonny asks Dan to name Anna Nicole Smith's dog. Wait, people are supposed to know that? I'm guessing Paris Hilton and Tinkerbell were out of the question, since she has a show with Nicole Richie, whose father is Lionel Richie, who played with William King in the Commodores, whose son is Adam King, who was on this show. Man, I need to stop wasting brain cells. Dan guesses "Money," which is wrong. The girls rub "Sugar Pie" in his face. Dan interviews that he doesn't care. Sophia takes a deep breath before she rolls down the ramp, interviewing that her body is shaking and she's afraid of losing her balance. She takes off, successfully completing the jump to give the women a 3-0 lead.

Shane takes a question, Tonya opts for the ramp. Shane is wearing his "Where's Rachel" t-shirt. I hate that shirt. He's asked to name Madonna's two children, and he nails it ("Rocco" and "Lourdes"). The guys celebrate and mob him. Tonya goes down the big ramp, pushing the lead to 6-0. "I've always known I'm capable of doing these missions," she interviews, "and I think the girls are finally seeing that." Shane goes down the one-point ramp, tying the score at 6-6.

Theo and Ibis take the question. Jonny asks them to complete this Kellis lyric: "My milkshake brings all the [blank] to the [blank]." Ibis: "boys, yard." Theo: "boys, bar." For a spilt second, I thought it was one of those deals where you hear something countless times and you still get it wrong. It turned out Ibis was right and the world goes back to normal, as the girls sing the song. Tina: "How the hell can you not know it's 'yard'? Idiot!" Ibis takes the three-point ramp, giving the women a 12-6 lead.

Randy and Robin take this question: in Friends, what does Ross tell Rachel when he's accused of cheating? Side note: wouldn't Ross have been great with this men's team? He was such a tool. Randy nails it ("We were on a break"), but Robin doesn't. The guys hug Randy, while Robin can only laugh and wish she had done the jump. Randy takes the one-point ramp, and we're tied at 12-12.

Mark and Tina take the question: name one member of 98 Degrees. Oh, come on! How about naming a member who isn't Nick Lachey? Naturally, they both get it right. Tina takes the three, Mark goes for one, and the score is still tied, 18-18.

Ruthie volunteers to attempt a three-pointer, while Steven goes for the question. And yes, it is RW history time: name the first roommate to get thrown off the show. Steven interviews that he immediately thinks of Puck. Good thinking. Of course, he's wrong: it was David "Not Even Jesus Christ Can Spit In My Face" Edwards from Real World: Los Angeles. Ruthie nails her jump, and the girls lead 21-18.

Veronica and Frank go for the question: name the activity in the movie Bring It On. Both correctly answer with "cheerleading." Frank opts for the one-point ramp, while Veronica hits the three. Girls lead 27-24.

Brad interviews that he needs six points. He and Arissa take the question: name the first woman to be killed off in the Scream trilogy. That's a tough one. Brad goes with Carmen Electra. Awwww... she was the first woman killed in the Scary Movie trilogy. Arissa goes with Drew Barrymore, which is correct. The girls mob Arissa, while Brad gets a sympathy handshake from Mark.

Eric: "Almighty jump rope, somehow find your way into the spokes of her tires." Yes, he's actually praying while Arissa gets ready. Sophia interviews that Eric is taking things too far with the rope. Ya think? "I hope she doesn't get hurt," Eric monotones, "but if it's the only way we'll win." I don't know if he's serious. Either way, wishing for bodily harm on the opposition still bites. Jonny reminds everybody that a successful jump from Arissa would "close the door" on the guys. Ibis interviews that she knows Arissa is scared of heights. We flashback to Sa-Wing and Arissa panicking. "When I get up there and I'm looking down this ramp," she interviews, "my brain starts to bleed." Jonny blows his horn. Arissa goes down in slow motion. We get multiple perspectives as she looks frightened.

Back from commercials, the tape gets rewound for anybody just tuning in. Jonny reminds us that the women lead, 27-24. Robin says that the girls win if Arissa makes the jump. She goes down the three-point ramp, goes up and she nails it. The women win, 33-24, and they cheer while Arissa dangles from the cord and celebrates. Sophia hugs her and swings her around. For those two, it's the perfect day: the team won, they get to decide who goes home, and Steven messed up. "By the grace of God, I did it," Arissa interviews. "I'm on the most ridiculous high right now." The girls huddle and cheer: "We're winners!"

Jonny awards the massage chairs to the women and Arissa accepts the certificate on behalf of her team. Coral interviews that it feels good to win, and that it gives the team hope. Jonny goes over Inner Circle procedure: the female leaders pick off a team member, the men pick off a leader.

The kids ride the vans back home. Ibis and Robin look at a piece of paper. More on that later. Veronica interviews that she's glad her team won, but she's in the hot seat since she didn't lead. "It all depends on how you're evaluating these players," she adds, "and it's also in the air."

In the Men's Lounge, the guys have their Inner Circle Meeting. Mark notes that Theo and Brad have no disqualifications or penalties. On the other hand, Frank got a draw in High Noon and a disqualification. Where he got the DQ, I have no clue. Steven looks glum, then Mark rubs it in that he got his question wrong. Everybody has a good laugh, while Steven volunteers to make the announcement on Elimination Hill. "I'm a little nervous about losing Frank," he interviews, "because he's such a strong competitor and he really is the glue that holds the team together."

Over at the Main Lounge, Tonya lies on the couch with Theo, pissed off. Why? Well, on the ride back to the Lounges, she saw Ibis handing the Inner Circle a performance checklist. "I had no part in this list," she interviews. "If today's vote-off is based on that sheet, I'm going to be ticked." She tells Theo that this is happening because people are scared of going home. He tells her to discuss it with the team. She then has a conversation with Ibis. Turns out the list was Tina's idea. Tonya is willing to call Tina out, since it looks deceitful on Ibis's part. Ibis figures the Inner Circle wouldn't base their choice on one thing.

At the Women's Lounge the women have their Inner Circle Meeting. They have the list, and Tonya's neck is on the line. Actually, it's between Tonya and Veronica. Sophia notes that Tonya has the two DQs and two "no"s (which stands for mission failures, I guess). Veronica has one DQ, and she failed Bombs Away and High Noon. Sophia thinks that using the chart is the only fair way to make a decision. Tina wonders who would they want on the final team.

Time for the Elimination Hill ceremony. Jonny does his spiel, emphasizing the word "who" for some strange reason. Steven comes up, declaring this to be the worst day in the Challenge for him. He drops the axe on Frank. Of course, Frank takes this well, declaring that the allure of the money brought him to Santa Fe, but he's leaving with new friends. With any luck, these friends would pry him away from Steven.

The Girls' Inner Circle comes up to make their choice known. This time, Sophia doesn't break up. She says that it was a long and hard deliberation. Tina drops the axe on Veronica.

I have to stop the tape for a minute. From a logical standpoint, this wasn't a good move. Tonya has caused more ruckus here than Veronica. Tonya hasn't won a Challenge, while Veronica has won three. I'm still convinced that Tonya's body will break down soon, like it did in BOTS1 and Gauntlet. With that said, I must add this: BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAA! Wow, I did not know that you could take Veronica out without Emily. Seriously, I don't care if she was a shadow of her dramatic self. After enduring her endless crappy personality for the last two seasons, after she tried to shove Sarah and Katie under the bus, after I named her as a member of the "Axis of Ass" in both seasons, Veronica is gone. Hip hip hooray!

Anyway, Veronica takes the boot well, as Tina gets a little choked up about it. "I knew that I was gonna be a target," Veronica interviews. "They don't want to see me here at the end. Whenever I come into a game like this, it's, 'Let's get Veronica off,' and I know that I can't give anyone a reason to vote me off,." Cry me a river, then get a job away from the cameras. She tells her team to win the final mission. Coral interviews that she's sad to see Veronica go, and that she could have been an asset to the team in the long run.

It's 9 p.m., do you know where your women's team is? They're at a meeting, where Tonya figures they could use a points system so she can sleep better at night. Sophia interviews about Tonya freaking out over the list because she looks bad on paper. Coral tells Tonya that nobody is getting upset about the list but her, which Tonya denies. "I think Tonya's got good intentions," Coral interviews, "but sometimes she does a lot so people will feel sorry for her, and it's just not working. It's kind of annoying." Tonya doesn't know why everybody is attacking her. Coral insists that nobody is attacking Tonya. Tonya says that she would keep using the list had they used it in the beginning.

Now Tina steps up to take credit for the list, since she thought it was a good idea. Tonya retorts that everybody should be a part of it. Tina gets agitated, insisting it was "black and white." The girls argue some more, as Ibis, Sophia, and Ruthie wearily look on. "Not only can't I stand you in the missions, but I can't stand you outside the missions," Tina snipes in an interview, as the camera pans on a blank paper and marker. "That bitch can't perform and she knows she's gone!" Arissa says that they're going into the last week and a half, and everybody is petrified. She asks her teammates if they'll use the list, and they say "no." Tonya interviews that she arranged the meeting in order to ensure fairness, and that she'll play even harder. "If they thought I was a strong, tough competitor before," she adds, "they better just wait, because this gives me more drive to cream them tomorrow and not give a flying [bleep] if they go home." Coral blinks rapidly. Tonya looks to the side. Fade to black.

I think this was the best episode of the season so far. We had drama. We had Arissa getting a hero moment. We had people sniping about Eric and his jump rope. On a personal note, I got my first perfect score in MTV.com's Fantasy Challenge. After seeing the commercial, I traded Veronica for Arissa, and started her with Coral, Tina, and Tonya. While I didn't get a prize this time, I'm just happy that I go things right for once.

Next time: Tonya doesn't want to step up, since she doesn't trust her team. Ibis steps up, saying that she knows Tonya is going home. The mission? Throwing stuff in a giant chipper and making the kids catch it while holding buckets on top of their heads. Tina: "I think I saw an eyeball in one of the blocks." Super!

I keep forgetting about the Fantasy Challenge. That was fun. Sadly, with spoilers becoming easier to access, something like that would be harder to run these days.

Veronica would come back for one more run in the following season, teaming with Rachel and Tina to be the de facto bitches of Inferno II and making Tonya's life miserable. I still believe the Bad Asses would have won if they had treated Tonya like a human being. That ended her then-unprecedented streak of appearing in six straight seasons (seven in the span of eight). She return in The Ruins in 2009 . . . much like BOTS2, it was a horrific grind of a season where most of the people were more horrible than her ("most people" = "Evan, Johnny, Kenny") Oh, and Tonya was kicked off for smacking her, which I approved of at that time. Veronica reappeared in the recent "trilogy" of seasons (Dirty XXX, Vendettas, Final Reckoning), but she didn't get close to her prime seasons.

Frank? Well, as big of a tool as he could be, he would no longer be the most-hated "Frank" in BMP was the coming of Frank Sweeney in 2011. Mr. Roessler made his second and final Challenge was  Gauntlet III. He won three Gauntlets to stay in the game on the Rookies' side, then joined them in their improbable victory over the Veterans, caused by Eric "Big Easy" Banks keeling over and almost dying on his team, causing them to be disqualified. Frank's last "appearance" was the "reunion" season of the original Las Vegas cast . . . but let us never speak of that.