Saturday, June 25, 2005

Inferno II, Episode 16: So Much For Our Unhappy Ending

“For all you Good Guys out there that think you guys finish first, it ain’t gonna happen this time. It ain’t gonna happen.”- Veronica Portillo, Bad Ass, after defeating Jodi Weatherton in the Inferno.

Previously on Inferno II: We had a season that didn’t totally suck. Sure, we swapped out jump ropes for crappy t-shirts, but I think we viewers came out on top. Anyway, twenty former BMPers came to Mexico for some sweet money. There’s Jon! And Beth! And CT with the fake afro! The players were spilt into “Good Guys” and “Bad Asses”...not bad, until you see bed-wetting shit-stirrer Julie on the side of the angels. The Bad Asses won the first three missions, but the Good Guys managed to roar back, winning six of the last eight challenges. In the final mission – Heart Rate Bungee – the Good Guys finally topped the Bad Asses in the bank, going up $80,000-$70,000. Thankfully, we don’t get to revisit Tonya getting raked over the coals by members of both teams. We see Infernos past, including Tina kicking Robin’s butt in Shack Attack, Abram and Brad banging heads in Balls In, and Tonya and Julie tussling in Patch Work. Speaking of Tonya, the final Inferno saw her win for the second time, as she outlasted Shavonda to ensure herself a spot on her team heading towards the final mission.

Night and the Villa. Sponsor clue time. Mike reads off congratulations from Dave for making it this far before going into the details: be ready to leave at 8:30 a.m., wear team colors, swimsuits and sneakers, and get ready to “go for the gold.” So the kids won’t have to be picked up by aggressive men in black? I guess Dave doesn’t have a strike force like Jonny Moseley does. The assembled players whoop it up, and Mike feels the need to channel Dave Chappelle some more. Ugh.

Outside, CT asks Derrick what he’d do with his money. Derrick figures he’ll be speechless when it happens, interviewing that winning $150,000 would be surreal to win. CT reminisces about coming close at the end of The Inferno, only to blow things on the puzzle, because his group didn’t work as a team. Derrick thinks the Bad Asses are bad as a team. CT adds that it will come down to who wants it more, and he thinks his team has more “heaht.” Derrick notes that the team is only as good as the slowest person. CT wonders who it is. At home, I’m going, “It should be Rachel, but he’ll say Tonya.” Derrick: “Veronica.” My man! And to think that I once considered him to be Abram’s spiritual successor during RR: X-Treme.

Night turns to day. Landon and Mike get washed up. Mike interviews that being on the smaller team makes him nervous. Since he’s been there twice, I figure he knows about that. Darrell interviews that he doesn’t think size matters, but rather how they work as a team. Derrick is psyched and ready for anything. Tina is also fired up, since this is her first time in a final mission. I’m happy for her, but she’s wearing a “I [Heart] My Pussy” t-shirt. Not good.

Flame segue! The players assemble at the mission site. The Bad Ass girls are wearing “Switch Hitter” tees. Why does Tonya want to be a team player? Dave welcomes the teams to the final mission: Montezuma’s Revenge. The kids cheer. Mike: “I’ve had that all month!” Dave reminds everybody that this mission is worth $150,000. Landon interviews about dreaming of this jackpot since he stepped off the plane. Dave tells them that they will be competing in a triathlon. The first stage is an open-water paddle to shore on an inflated raft. The second stage: a 10 kilometer bike race. Third stage: 5K footrace. The course ends at the front door of the Inferno. In order to open the door, the teams have to solve a riddle. I like gross eating, no lame tasks, no sponsored segments, and the traditional puzzle is plugged in. The first team to get inside the Inferno wins $150,000. The Good Guys get psyched, while Derrick pumps up his team. Rachel interviews that the Bad Asses feel good. “We all realize that there is no more room for argument,” she adds. “This is the one day where we all have to get along.” Hee hee hee.

The players take a boat trip. Dave gives each player three golden keys. Jamie expositions that at each station, they have to open locks and loosen chains, and every lock must be tried until the keys fit. Mike adds that to start things off, they have to jump off the boat and swim to the raft. “Oh, boy!” he adds. “The madness begins!”

Dave gives the signal, and both teams dive into the water and start swimming. We find out that it’s a two kilometer row to shore. Both teams reach their rafts, only to find the paddles locked up. The Good Guys get their paddles freed first, as the Bad Asses struggle. Rachel orders her team to get into position, since it only takes one person to unlock the locks. The Good Guys paddle, while the Bad Asses free their paddles.

The Good Guys take the lead, and Landon softly shouts “row, row.” Jamie interviews that she’s trying to keep up with her teammates. “Being the only girl is really hard,” she adds, “but I’m just going to suck it up.” Attagirl! She grunts as she rows. On the other raft, CT shouts instructions, then yells at Tonya. He interviews that his team has fallen apart, and Abram’s cadence is confusing everybody. Sure enough, Abram is rowing and grunting out random instructions. Tina interviews that the team isn’t synchronized, and the boat is weaving back and forth, while the Good Guys take the lead. Mike tells us that his team is coming together, and they feel like they’re goig to win. The phrase of the day: “Running Theme.”

CT yells for his team to dig, then yells at Tonya again. Tonya tells him that “one, two” isn’t working for her. CT: “Just fucking dig!” Tonya: “Well, do you want to be off?” CT: “FUCKING DIG!” Tonya: “Do you like to hear yourself yell, CT?” Yeah, I laughed. Suddenly, Tonya goes overboard. Derrick tries to pull her in, but he slips and takes his own dive.

Back from commercials, Abram pulls Tonya and Derrick back on the raft. Tonya interviews that CT can’t see from the front of the boat, and that he’s yelling to make himself heard. Works for me. “Great, Tonya,” she mutters. “Once again, you let the voices get in your head, and you screw up.” Or maybe she did it on purpose. Probably not, but it would be so funny if she did.

Shot of bikes and helmets waiting for the Good Guys. The team dives off the raft and runs to the bikes. As the Bad Asses manage to get their act together on their raft, the Good Guys unlock the bikes and take off. The Bad Asses dive off their raft. Dave pops up from Parts Unknown, telling us that the Good Guys have a 4:03 lead, and the Bad Asses have to work hard on the next leg. Tina thinks her team can catch up. “They’re only four strong,” she says of the Good Guys, “and they also have a riddle. They may be fast on foot, but they’re stupid.” I know...arrogant and invoking bad mojo. But in her defense, that team includes Mike and Darrell, both of whom don’t seem like the sharpest tools in the shed.

The Good Guys ride their bikes, with Darrell egging his crew on. Mike interviews that they have to get as big a lead as possible to get to the puzzle. “If you can’t figure out the puzzle,” he adds, “then your lead doesn’t even matter.” He’s gone 1-2 in that situation, so he would know. The team goes over speed bumps. Suddenly, Darrell thinks he popped something. The team stops, and Landon insists nothing got popped. Darrell: “Yes I did, foo.” Mike interviews that the bikes are “rinky-dink” with popping chains, and they’re not going as fast as they can. Meanwhile, the Bad Asses pedal onwards, with Rachel screaming instructions. Darrell fixes his bike, and his team takes off again. “Make Tonya feel the pressure,” Rachel directs her group. “You know she hates to be the last girl!” Tina zooms ahead, and Abram and CT yell at Tonya to not be a weak link. In contrast, Darrell tells Jamie to pick it up, with no belittling at all. She wants to conserve her strength for the run, but he eggs her on. She interviews that her legs are aching, and there’s still a 5K run ahead.

The Good Guys zoom on their bikes. Jamie spots the next box, and has to alert her team. They stop to unlock the box, revealing spiffy golden sneakers. Cut to shots of discarded sneakers and bikes sprawled out on the grass. The Bad Asses arrive, 3:17 behind the leaders. The Good Guys run their final leg, with Landon and Derrick in the lead, and Jamie and Mike trailing. Darrell huffs and puffs about how good his team is doing, adding, “I’m proud to be a part of this blue team.” And the funny thing? He seems to mean it.

The Bad Asses jog, with Tonya escorted by CT and Abram. She interviews that she can’t take it. “My legs are falling apart,” she tells us. “I want to pass out, like I’m feeling dizzy. Dammit, I want to quit.” Quit! Quit! Do what Sarah and Katie couldn’t bring themselves to do! She falters to a stand-still, and Abram has to push her on. In the lead, Jamie slows down, preparing for the uphill portion. Mike admits to us that he and Jamie are dying, and they have to face “big, huge-ass hills.” “You body is starting to shut down,” he interviews. “Your legs are starting to just grow tired. You feel like you can’t go one step more.”

In the back, Tonya and Tina lag behind. Tina doesn’t want to get pushed by Abram. Veronica bitches that the starting and stopping is hurting her and Rachel, and they’re getting cramps. Yeah, the three guys on the team? They don’t count. CT and Abram attempt to carry Tonya, but she shrugs them off and takes a break. Anybody want to hear some high-class bitchery? Rachel: “Our team fucking sucks, man. Tonya, you know what? You really fucking suck. I mean, I am walking. I am walking, and I am too far ahead of her.” Veronica: “People talk a lot of shit, but when it comes to the final challenge, people that have been talking, saying that they’re the best in everything are obviously not!” Rachel: “I swear to God, when this is over, I’m punching her.” Have I mentioned how glad I am these two won’t be on the next Challenge? And Rachel would be punk enough to slug Tonya. Those two treated her less than human throughout the whole Challenge, and this is what they get. She won two Infernos, they only combined for one win, and she outperformed them in many missions. One day, they’re going to pick on the wrong person, and they’ll get what’s coming to them.

Back to the people I care about. The Good Guys trudge forth. Jamie gasps that she’s too tired. Landon admits he’s nervous about seeing the Bad Asses come from behind. Has he not seen them in action? Darrell goes out in front, urging Mike on, not wanting to hear “shoulda, coulda, woulda.” Jamie manages to surge forward.

Team Of The Damned. Abram asks Tonya to get up on his shoulders. She declines, but CT orders her to do it. Abram picks her up, with his head between her legs. Tina lags behind. Abram puts down Tonya and Derrick picks up Tina. Veronica interviews that she can’t believe Tonya and Tina are having problems, and she doesn’t find it that difficult. Derrick puts Tina down, and Veronica and CT yell at Tina to move. The Good Guys arrive at the Inferno gate and the final puzzle. Mike: “We have to get this riddle. It doesn’t matter where the Bad Asses are. If we don’t get the riddle, we could lose this.”

Back from commercials, Landon reads the first clue to the combination lock: the age of the first team member to go home, minus sixteen. Look, it’s either this or a game of Concentration. Count your blessings. Jamie expositions that they have to figure out the riddle in order to open the lock. Mike adds that the clues relate to the first three people who went home. With the first number figured out, they come to Eliminated Person #2 minus twelve. Landon remembers that Robin was 25. Jamie says 24, since she went home on her birthday. Man, that must have sucked for Robin. They spin the lock, coming up with 14-36. Next: Eliminated Person #3 plus nineteen. Mike asks who was the third person. Silence. They lost a lot of people, you know. Who can keep track?

The Bad Asses are still running. Derrick yells that they’re in the home stretch. Cut to Darrell: “B-Br-Jodi!” He remembers that she was 21. Landon tries to unlock, but he’s stymied. Jamie shouts that Jodi was 23. And just like that...unlocked. The team gets keys, run up to the Inferno door and open it. Game Over, Good Guys win, and Eric Nies getting $60,000 becomes a distant memory. Dave greets the team, and gets picked up by Mike. The team exchanges high-fives, and even Dave tries to get in on the action. Dork. Darrell interviews that he feels overwhelmed, and he can’t believe they did it. I think he’s just amazed that he won with an underdog this time around. Dave announces that the team has won $150,000. “This is my first Challenge,” Landon interviews. “I am a winner! I do feel good! And I’m ready for the next one!” The sad thing? He’s probably competing right now as you read this. Mike lifts Jamie up. She interviews that this is the best feeling in the world, and she never won anything in her life. Mike: “Hoo-rah! Good always prevails over evil, bitches!” I’m happy, so I’m letting that one slide.

Landon kicks off the clips package, dubbing Inferno II as a “fairy-tale Challenge.” He admits that they started off badly, going 0-3. We see Mike dropping Darrell outside the rings in X Marks The Spot. Robin falters in the Inferno. Cut to a clip of the Good Guys arriving at the Inferno. “It was a big moral lesson,” Landon tells us. “The Good Guys can finish first.” It’s not a total comes with conditions, not unlike Tom Westman winning Survivor: Palau and Uchenna & Joyce triumphing in The Amazing Race. Mike interviews that he had so much fun. “My most happiest moment,” he adds, using the same grammar from his web site, “was every moment I was on it.” Cut to him fooling around with Jodi, eating a hot pepper, and watching Tonya throw Beth’s stuff in the pool. Cut to belly-flopping in the pool. “It’s gonna be sad leaving,” he tells us. “It really is sad.” Our little Mike, all grown up and ready to move out of the basement.

The Bad Asses. Ahhhhhh, the Bad Asses. They run to the box, seeing that they have to deduct the first departed person’s age by eight. That would be Beth. What’s infinity minus eight? Veronica knows that the team has lost. No fourth win for you, missy! “We’re just trying to finish this race,” she interviews, “with a little bit of dignity.” Ha!

We skip past Karamo and Dan, and see the Bad Asses pop their lock open, followed by the team walking into the Inferno. Somber piano music plays as the door opens, and the Good Guys clap and shake hands. “Hey, first time!” Rachel enthuses to Landon. CT interviews that he thought his team would win. He adds, “I definitely think that our team didn’t want to win as much as the Good Guys did.” Tonya and Tina sit on the ground, looking glum and tired. Tonya interviews that she’s disappointed in her performance, since she did well this Challenge. She looks on the verge of tears. Tina puts her head down, and Veronica tells her not to cry. Yeah, big shocker. Tina sobs, knowing she was a slow runner. “It really sucks to know that you have to be on someone else’s shoulders just to get three miles,” Tina interviews. “It’s pathetic on my part.” You think Tonya got a pat on her head?

Rachel tells the team that she doesn’t want to hear anything. She interviews that her team never got their act together, as they fought in and out of missions. Cue up the highlights: the raft sinking in Riddle Me This, Karamo telling CT to kiss his black ass, Beth and Veronica sniping at each other, and Abram and Tina arguing. Rachel: “It is proven today that maybe it doesn’t pay to be a Bad Ass.” Wait, I can top that. This game is ug-lay...and so are you, Rachel. Seriously.

Denouement. Dave congratulates the Good Guys, awarding them the $150,000. Added to the $80,000 in the bank, that’s $57,500 per team member. And just think...if not for the screw-ups of Jodi, Landon and Julie, the total would have been $65,000, which would have been a single-season record. The Good Guys celebrate. Rachel jokes that Darrell is ready to cry, prompting Mike to reach for an imaginary tear. Dave adds that each Good Guys will receive a 42-inch plasma television. Wait...what happened to the cars? What a letdown. Dave jokes that this is Landon’s second plasma TV. He ends the season, saying it was great hanging with the kids, he hopes to see them on another Challenge, and tells them to have a safe trip. For his sake, I hope this is his last hosting gig. “Yo, where’s Karamo at?” still haunts my mind.

Derrick interviews that it didn’t feel good “whacking people left and right,” as we see the specters of Beth, Karamo and Dan. “I’m proud of the other team,” Derrick adds. “They did well and they deserve it.” And I’m proud of Derrick. Drunken fights aside, the kid did well, and I hope he keeps it up next season. Jamie reads off the roll call of the doomed: Jon, Robin, Julie, Jodi, Shavonda and Brad. She tells us it was great meeting them, and she thanks her teammates for supporting and pushing her. Landon wants his team for one last cheer. They bring their hands together, and Mike tells them to use two hands. Everybody laughs. Last words, Miz? “Blue on three! Blue on three! One, two, three, BLUE!” Fade to credits.

We got a review show next time, but I’ll get this out of the way now. I liked this season. Minimum, it beats the past two installments (Inferno, Battle of the Sexes 2) hands-down. Part of the reason I was kicked off Reality News Online was that I was too negative in my recaps. Well, I didn’t have that problem as bad this time, and I wished that I could have shown that to my ex-peers. Sure, the cast members would drive a teetotaler straight to an open bar, and I’m still more negative that Larry Trainor hanging out with Blastaar and Anihilus. But in my mind, Bunim-Murray Productions gave a damn, and it showed. As a result, I gave more of a damn in recapping. I will be back next season, and I hope you guys had as much fun reading my recaps.

No comments: