Previously on Gauntlet 2: Thirty-two former cast members from The Real World and Road Rules came to Trinidad & Tobago for fortune, drama and sex. The Royal Rumble event determined who the captains were, but there was a twist. Win, and you get a nifty sponsor gift. Lose, and your butt goes into the Gauntlet, no questions asked. According to the voiceover, Jo couldn’t handle the pressure, and she abruptly left the game. That was probably one-third of it, with the remaining two-thirds being, “Why do these sodding wankers have to slap and tickle on MY bed?!?” Anyway, Kina was selected to fill Jo’s shoes as the female captain of the Rookies. The Veterans got defeated in their first mission, and a belligerent Derrick got sent to face Adam L. in the Gauntlet. Happily, Derrick defeated the ADD-afflicted tool, assumed the captain’s position, and announced to us that he had a license not to care what his team thought.
Nighttime. Alton and David have themselves a boxing match. It’s funny...I once thought it would make great television if they tried to beat each other up without using their hands. David is wearing tight black briefs...and there goes half the audience, fainting at the sight. Alton gets decked, but it’s all in good fun. Aneesa interviews that the guys are fighting and sliding on the slippery decks for no apparent reason. Ruthie gets the boxing gloves, saying out loud that she’s been drinking. RUN! Oops...darn reflexes. Kina dons the gloves, as Derrick interviews that both captains are awesome and strong. Mark tells the ladies to go at half-speed, but they start smacking each other hard. Ruthie gets a few jabs in the back of Kina’s head, sending her sprawling near the pool. Mark: “I SAID HALF-SPEED!” Kina gets up, and they start swinging, to the point where not even Alton can break them up. Ruthie interviews that she’s just letting out aggression, and she wants to have fun. Ruthie and Kina hug.
Phone clue! Syrus reads off the text message, loudly announcing the sponsored phone’s name. Now that’s a veteran for you. Cara reads off her phone: “There’s no ‘I’ in ‘team’.” They Wear team colors and tennis shows, and be ready to go at 9 a.m. Syrus looks over enthusiastic, chest-bumping everybody in sight. He interviews that his team is down by one mission, and they’ll do anything possible to win.
We cut over to Randy & Kina. She’s concerned about staying in the game and what she has to do. He thinks no girl can physically beat her, and she’d win if she breaks them down mentally as well. He tells us that they’ve been dating for five month, and they love each other. “If I ended up leaving this island,” Kina interviews, “and Randy was here to win the game by himself without me, I would be a very sad girl.”
Daytime. Shot of Jamie standing on the edge of the pool, in deep thought. Or maybe he’s recovering after sampling the local stuff. I think the whole “players in the pool” thing might be a running theme.
Mission site. We see two large balls. TJ welcomes the players to the Mt. Irvine Golf Club for today’s mission: Team Builders. This mission is broken down into three parts: Team Bridge, Up & Over, and Carry the Load. TJ warns the competitors that the teams need strategy and communication. He’ll blow his horn, and the players will race downhill to their first task. Syrus expositions that the teams can’t move on to the next station until they completed the first task. TJ adds that the winning team gets $10,000 for their bank account, and the female captain gets the same $1,000 electronic store gift card Alton won last week. The captain on the losing team will go into the Gauntlet TJ adds that he wouldn’t want to face Ruthie or Kina in the Gauntlet.
Strategy sessions. Timmy is still uncertain about how Derrick will do as captain, adding that he has “a lot of psycho popcorn kernels poppin’ in his head.” Derrick interviews that his team is already down, and his teammates don’t know what to expect from him, but he’s ready to bust ass.
TJ blows his airhorn to start the mission. Both teams head run down the hill to the first station: Team Bridge. Each team has a pile of rope, tires and boards. All materials must be used to get to the second station. If any body part or board touches the ground, the team must start over. Randy suggests putting the tires out and using the boards to make bridges. Jodi interviews that her team will walk forward on the board, and whoever is in the back passes the tire to the front. TJ reminds both teams about touching the ground and starting over. As the Rookies continue, Ruthie tells us that the Veterans will just copy the Rookies’ idea. Cameran interviews that the team is moving slowly, but the plan is working. The Veterans push on, but they get a whistle blown on them. Turns out Timmy’s foot hit the ground. As the Veterans rush back, David tells us that they got done in by “the always dexterious Mr. Timmy.” That’s cute for some reason. Derrick barks for everybody to get back. Aneesa interviews that the Rookies are already ahead. “We’re fucked,” she adds. Derrick yells some more as we head for commercials.
Rookies still chugging. Randy interviews that they have a lot of people to move along on the planks. Ace comes up with a plan for the Veterans: put feet inside the tires and walk to the next station. It’s unconventional, but the team makes it work. On the other side, Alton’s foot can’t adjust, and it hits the ground. He bitches to the whistling referee before heading back, doing a cartwheel along the way. “Holy shit!” Ibis gripes in an interview. “Are you kidding? We’re almost there!” Alton adds that they have to figure out that they have to do as the Veterans do.
Both teams walk in the tires. Guys walk with girls strapped to their backs. Kina goes lovingly limp on Randy. Derrick walks, his feet in two tires, carrying three more tires and rope in his arms. Syrus is impressed that the “littlest fucking guy” is carrying tires five times bigger than him. Ruthie tells us that Derrick is pulling his weight, and the team respects him as captain. For now, anyway. More walking. Derrick carries a board across his shoulders. Timmy makes a face while carrying Aneesa. The Veterans reach the end of the stage, and they move on. TJ tells the Rookies that this is just the beginning of the competition.
The Veterans reach the second stage: Up and Over. Julie expositions that the players must jump over an elevated rope using a board, without touching the rope. Elsewhere, Alton stalls out with Danny on his back. The Veterans get Ruthie over the rope. Danny tries to encourage Alton, but the big guy stumbles and almost falls. Quickly, Landon launches a rescue effort, as he wraps the rope around a pair of tires and walks to Alton. Landon squats down, Alton puts his head down, and we have a weird homoerotic moment as Danny jumps on Landon’s back. The Rookies applaud the heroic effort. Meanwhile, Ace tries to finish the task, but his foot hits the rope, forcing the Veterans to start over. Alton grimaces as he gets to the end, as TJ yells that the Rookies are even with the Veterans.
Veterans start over. Rookies get started. Cara interviews that it’s anybody’s game now. Players on both sides get help from their teammates. Mark interviews on how bad it sucks to get caught up. The Veterans complete the second station, and they move on to the climax. Meanwhile, MJ tries to jump over the rope, but he nudges it. Rookies start over, and MJ yells “dammit!”
The Veterans read the final clue for Carry the Load; they have to get the ball to the finish line, but without using their hands. Sounds challenging, but the “ball” is a glorified balloon. All the Veterans have to do is tuck in their hands in and move it. Meanwhile, MJ jumps off Alton’s back and over the rope. Veterans still moving. Alton gets off a great vertical leap to finsih the stage for the Rookies. Both sides push their balls, and the Veterans get their first win, triggering a huge celebration. Ruthie interviews that they had problems in the beginning, but they came together. Meanwhile, the Rookies press on, as Alton tells us that they won’t quit now. “The mission is Team Builders,” he interviews, “and if we don’t finish the mission as a team, did we ever build a team?” The ladies of the Veterans sing-song about not going to the Gauntlet, while Kina grimly looks on. She interviews that somebody is going home, and it won’t be her. She adds, “You got to figure you box Ruthie, you can take on some of the girls from my team.”
TJ awards the $10,000 check to Ruthie for the Veterans’ bank account, in addition to the $1,000 gift card. The girls celebrate by gang-hugging Ruthie. This gives me happy Battle of the Sexes flashbacks. “We can work together as a team,” she interviews. “Victory is just so sweet.” TJ moves on to the bad news, as he gives the Rookies thirty minutes to pick somebody to face Kina in the Gauntlet.
Mansion. Rookies file into the room. Cameran interviews that the dynamic of the game will change now that they have to vote each other out. “People’s true sides are going to flare,” she adds, “and it’s gonna get a bit dirty.” Everybody stares at each other, as we go to commercials.
Coming back, Kina announces that she has chosen Cameran. The weird part? Cameran has decided to go home. Cameran explains that she would rather have Kina lead the team than herself. Danny sits next to Cameran, giving her a severe stink-eye. “What?” Jeremy bitches in an interview. “You’re here to compete for cold hard cash, and you don’t have this competitive drive to stay? I don’t understand this.” Once again, he makes sense, but I listen to that voice and look at his face...and I just want him to shut up. Adam and Susie look confused.
TJ moseys in to find out that Cameran will be facing Kina in the Gauntlet...or so he thinks. He goes to the wheel, asking for an easy or hard whirl. “Just spin the shit,” Kina replies, a bit testy in her response. The wheel lands on Capture the Flag. TJ will fill the fillies in on the rules later, and he wishes them luck. Susie interviews that she hopes Cameran changes her mind because she wants her to stay.
Gauntlet. Both sides file in. TJ welcomes everybody back, then congratulates the Veterans for their win. After the applause dies down, TJ calls down Kina and Cameran to play Capture the Flag. Both players will try and grab a flag on top of the hanging net. The players will be positioned on either side of the net, and they must race up to get it. Winner stays in the game, loser packs her bags and spilts. TJ tells Kina and Cameran to take this seriously and not to let him down. Cameran laughs, telling him that she’s about to do that, as she will be “succumbing” to Kina. TJ: “Nah, nah, you can’t do that. This is the Gauntlet. It don’t go like that. Get it laced up. Let’s go.” You know, we will have seen TJ for only four episodes in 2005, but I think this clinches Worst Host honors for him. The Veterans cheer, as if the BMX biker’s words will move Cameran to fight. She tells everybody that she is going to “succumb to the gods of the Gauntlet.” TJ snipes that somebody has to get the flag. Kina volunteers to do that. A visibly cheesed-off TJ asks if anybody else wants to quit, blathering that he’s feeling let down. I miss Jonny Moseley and Dave Mirra. Derrick bitches in his interviews about why Cameran came when she doesn’t want to compete.
Beth: “That means that she quits, right?” Yes, Beth...just like you did last season. The Veteran girls start wishing that Cameran was on their team, with Aneesa saying that she loves Cameran. “You don’t love her,” Cara says. “You don’t know her.” The following exchange saves this episode from being a complete and total dud:
Aneesa: “You can still care about somebody. I wish you would get in the fuckin’ Gauntlet with me, bitch! You wouldn’t fuckin’ leave it! How ‘bout it, bitch?!” [Syrus puckers lips behind her]
Cara: “You are so gross.”
Aneesa: [mocking Cara, as Timmy mocks her from behind] “‘You are so gross because I lost twenty pounds and I’m hot now, so I feel like I can act any way I fucking want!’ Suck my [bleep], bitch!” [Dear Lord, I hope she didn’t say “dick.” There’s only enough I can take from these people. Cara smiles in spite of herself]
Cara: [interview] “I don’t really understand Aneesa and her personality, [shot of Aneesa shouting again, while Timmy gets back to copycatting] and the way she screams things. And how she dresses? Not intimidated by her. She’s crazy.”
Aneesa: “I don’t need a Gauntlet, bitch! I will cut you with words!”
Aneesa: [interview] Now, bitch, you don’t know me. You don’t know who I know. You don’t know what the fuck I’mma do to you if I didn’t care about being here.”
Wow. One thing I know for certain...if you’re a cast member from RW: Chicago, you lose your mind on the third Challenge. Look at Tonya...she seemed so normal in Battle of the Sexes and Gauntlet, and now she’s messed up. Maybe that’s why Theo Gantt won’t come back, because he values his sanity. Seriously...”I will cut you with words!” Where did that come from?
Anyway...Kina shouts “Fuck them!” to Cara, and she claps in approval, as does Cameran. Kina interviews that she will get the flag to win, adding, “Fuck the Veterans.”
TJ rings the bell, and Kina goes up the net to get the flag. MJ interviews that Kina is one of the strongest female competitors on the team, and she’ll be a great captain. Kina grabs the flag to win, and gets a hug from Cameran.
TJ congratulates Kina for the win, reminding her that she will remain team captain. Cameran gets 20 minutes to pack up and leave. I thought the usual period was a half-hour. I think TJ is that peeved at Cameran. Randy interviews that the team is psyched with Kina staying on.
Sunset. Cameran jokes to her teammates about changing her mind and staying on. Cara brings up getting into a fight over her. “These people have ten times more of a competitive spirit than me,” Cameran interviews. “Of course, I would much rather them be here all the way to the end than me.” She wishes Kina luck. MJ makes a sour face, interviewing that Cameran doesn’t portray team spirit, and he’s pissed that she threw away a chance to win money. Dude, lighten up. Your team lost a weak link and you get a slightly larger share of the bank account. Cameran gets into the departing car, telling the Rookies to “fight the good fight.” MJ: “I would never go out like that.” Cameran rides off.
Later. Kina tells Randy that they need the team to view them as teammates, rather than as a couple. Randy asks if the other girls are pissed with him watching her back. Kina thinks so, adding that they’re subject to scrutiny. Landon: “I know that Randy’s going to be fighting for Kina to stay, just so they can be together. I see that as being a conflict of interest. This is a problem.” Yeah, it is a problem...if you’re a hater who can’t get beyond hooking up with a woman. Sorry for the cynicism. It’s just that if “Big Rand” is happy, then I’m happy. So I’m happy with Kina remaining in the game.
Randy tells Kina to do whatever she feels like doing, and he’ll her if her butt’s on the line. “Randy is my rock,” Kina interviews. “He really is my best friend. He keeps me sane. If he jumps, I jump. I love Randy, and there’s no way that I couldn’t show that.” She asks Randy if he can imagine her doing this without her. He thinks that it would be so much worse. Kina figures it would be unbearable. They look at each other silently before he kisses her lips. He interviews that she has more fight in her than any girl he’s met. That’s remarkable, since he and Robin used to be lovey-dovey with each other, and that girl got arrested once. He continues, “This Challenge is literally going do strengthen our relationship or break it.” Kina hugs him and sighs deeply.
Next time: The teams crawl around in pyramid positions. Judging from Ace on the ground, it ain’t easy. He interviews that he doesn’t want the others to think of him while voting. Alton feels that he’s Gauntlet-bound. Jodi tells us that Danny can’t handle criticism, and he invites Jodi to kiss his ass. I don’t know about you, but I’m hoping for Alton to humiliate Danny the way he did Laterrian two years ago. Happy Holidays, everybody!