This was a rough episode to watch. Thanks to the previews at the beginning of the season, I knew Ruthie’s goose was going to be cooked by Beth, Queen of Bitches. Aside from the announcement of a fourth season of Last Comic Standing, I don’t know how things could get worse. In this recap, I will be bringing the Countdown to Disaster. This will let you know when the pigs start flying, when dogs meow, and when Rachel and Veronica act like human beings.
Previously on The Gauntlet: the pressure of the captaincy got to Kina and Ruthie. “In the Gauntlet, it’s business,” Ruthie said. “It’s you or me. Kill or be killed.” Kina called this the most difficult situation she has ever been in. The Veterans won Body Painters, upping their bank account to $30,000. Alton won his second Gauntlet, smoking Adam K. in Capture the Flag. Ibis interviewed that it sucks to lose two guys because the team needs them, and she hoped that the Rookies could step up their game. Countdown to Disaster: Sixteen minutes, twenty-three seconds.
Mansion. Beth and David hang out. Beth blahs about how she has never been voted off because she was in last-place. She’s actually right...in Battle of the Seasons and Battle of the Sexes, she was in next-to-last place when she got dismissed. But remember, she got booted in favor of somebody who was even less athletic than her (Sharon) and a pregnant woman who couldn’t compete in a mission (Gladys). That alone speaks volumes about the suck that is Beth. David thinks she’s been doing a fantastic job so far, and he jokes about her legacy. “My reputation kind of precedes me,” Beth interviews, “but this time around, I’m minding my own business and trying to stay out of trouble.” And by “stay out of trouble,” she means, “tell Robin about how Jodi said that Mark loved her.” She hopes to get a decent chance to compete and win, telling David that she never started a fight before with anybody. David jokes that her clothes won’t end up in the pool. Beth interviews that she was disappointed Tonya wasn’t coming to this Challenge. We flash back to Inferno II, where Tonya dumped Beth’s clothes in the pool. Good times. Anybody else besides Beth or the “mean girls,” and I would’ve dropped the hammer on Tonya. David interviews that he’s going to keep Beth at arm’s length. “She definitely gonna pull something,” he adds. “It wouldn’t be Beth if she didn’t pull anything.” Countdown to Disaster: 14:22.
Clue time! Alton reads the beginning: “Have you been pulling your own weight?” Jillian adds that the players will meet at Dwight Yorke Stadium at 9:15 a.m.
In the Female Captains Bonding subplot, Susie asks Ruthie and Kina if they dread the missions or if they get hyped up. Ruthie doesn’t dread, but she does admit to feeling pressure. She interviews tat she’s nervous about her head being on the line. Kina feels that she’s always prepared.
Over in the Veteran Ladies’ room, the gals try to decipher the clue. Aneesa doesn’t want any running. “Oh, my God,” Beth boasts. “I want to run because I will smoke 'em. That’s the thing I do the best.” Montana looks on, a slight scowl crossing her face. She interviews about how some people haven’t been feeling Beth, and how they didn’t get along during All-Star Challenge. Flash back to 1999. Hey, it’s Jason! And Nathan! No Dr. Neil, though. Anyway, Beth and Montana bicker over who would bungee first (result: neither did, and the Real World team lost the mission). “Beth is exactly the same as she was ten years ago,” Montana tells us. “You would think over the process of ten years, there would be a little bit of personal growth. But there’s been no growth with Beth, except for in her thighs.” Ha! I love Montana now. Countdown to Disaster: 13:14.
New day. Dwight Yorke Stadium. The players jog in, and we see two carts on the track. TJ welcomes everybody to today’s mission: Rickshaw Races. Each team gets their own rickshaw. Objective: get teammates around the track inside the rickshaw. Each team has six drivers, three men and three women. The first team to the finish line gets $10,000 to bank, and the winning female captain gets another $1,000 electronics store gift card. The losing captain goes to the Gauntlet. TJ informs the Veterans that since they have two extra players, they must sit out one male and one female...both of whom are exempt from the Gauntlet. Dun dun duuuuuuuun!
Skull sessions. Kina asks the Rookie guys who can really carry people in the cart. Naturally, they all raise their hands. She tells the team that if they can’t run fast, they shouldn’t be driving.
On the Veterans' side, Timmy asks how exemptions will be handled. Julie suggests Syrus sit out due to his weight. Robin figures that Beth and Syrus should sit out, but Montana brings up how Beth is a good runner. Beth bitches that she’s the heaviest female. Montana reminds Beth about how psyched she was to run. “Montana is flipping, out,” Beth blahs, “because she might actually have to prove herself and run.” Julie tries playing Good Cop, telling Montana to put personal stuff aside. Once again, Montana brings up Beth’s desire to run and how she wants an exemption. Beth doesn’t want words put in her mouth. Julie is still trying to settle things. Ruthie gripes about how the drama is “de-unifying” the team, interviewing about having to worry about the drivers lineup and the distractions aren’t helping the team. Beth tells Ruthie that Montana is trying manipulation to get the exemption, accusing Montana of not stepping up. Ruthie asks Beth if she’s trying the same thing. Montana interviews that Beth is scared of going on the chopping block. “It wasn’t the team’s best interest she has in mind,” Montana continues, “it’s saving her own butt, which is always her interest. Ruthie thinks this is messed up, and she wants to forget it. Shots of Beth, Montana and Ruthie. Countdown to Disaster: 10:34.
Back from commercials, we pick up with Ruthie cursing. Katie asks her to decide the runners. Robin: “The thing I love about Ruthie, she’s such a great team player. But as a captain, it’s hard for her to be heard, and it’s kind of upsetting to us girls because she’s our voice.” Ruthie gripes to Derrick about how her butt is on the line. Soon, Beth’s name is put into the lineup. I don’t care how things turned out...it was totally the right move. Ruthie tells Beth to forget the drama. Derrick: “She’s got it, she’s got it.” Ruthie gives Beth a hug, but Beth snipes in an interview about how Montana is a joke with her manipulations. Cry me a river, drama queen. Timmy rallies the Veterans. “Remember,” she says, “when the wheels literally fall off the wagon, just keep going.” I have a feeling that I should be collecting his quotes. It’s like reality zen.
Rookie Drivers: Kina, Alton, Jodi, Jillian, Landon, MJ. Kina interviews about being bervous, since she’s never done this before. Veteran Drivers: David, Robin, Beth, Julie, Timmy, Mark. David lets us in on the team plan: get as big a lead as possible and use the momentum.
TJ blows his airhorn, and we are off. Two players on each side pile into the rickshaw, and they start racing. David does indeed take an early lead. Ibis admits to getting nervous about the star. David finishes his lap, handing the reins to Robin.
Kina is done with her lap. MJ and Landon pile into the cart, as Alton pulls and runs. Wanna know why Bill Simmons not only mentioned Alton twice in his columns, but also thought to put in his last name? Because Alton is fast, to the point where you start humming the theme to Speed Racer. Also, MJ and Landon are a lot heavier than Spridle and Chim Chim. Meanwhile, Robin is struggling. MJ: “I think I can actually see smoke coming out of Robin’s ears right now. She’s puttered out under the first 100 meters Alton keeps running, as the Veterans yell for Robin to pick it up. Robin: “What I’m carrying behind me is killing my arms, and all of a sudden, I can just hear this massive train coming behind me...and sure enough, it’s Superman Alton.” The big fella whizzes by Robin, as the Veterans continue to try and boost Robin. Alton finishes his lap. Derrick interviews that Alton turned on the “turbo button,” and now the Rookies are kicking keister. Jodi gets the reins for the Rookies. Ruthie interviews about being dissapointed in Robin, and she starts hoping for a miracle. Countdown to Disaster: 7:58.
Beth gets the rickshaw and starts running. Katie interviews that Beth is doing an incredible job running. Jodi maintains the lead, with Alton cheering her on. Beth keeps jogging. Jodi finishes up, handing off to Jillian. Beth jogs, and we see that she’s not getting any type of support, if you know what I mean. She interviews that the 300 pounds she’s pulling is getting heavy. “But I’m not gonna give up,” she adds, “because I know everybody’s trying to point the finger at Beth, because Beth is supposedly a weak player.” Not to mention a player who refers to herself in the third person. That’s even more annoying than TJ’s “beautiful Trinidad & Tobago.” Jillian keeps running. Beth hands off to Julie, getting a post-lap hug from Katie. Beth thinks she did an excellent job. “They need me!” she grins at the camera. “These girls can’t even run a quarter mile!” Countdown to Disaster: 7:10.
Jillian is still running. She interviews that being a driver puts pressure on her, and one screw-up sends her to the Gauntlet. Julie runs, while Jillian struggles. Julie admits to feeling the burn, but adds that some girls were walking, so she has to make up the time. Jillian hands off to Landon. Derrick loudly chants Julie’s name. Landon takes off. Timmy takes over the Veterans rickshaw. Landon finishes his lap, handing off to MJ. MJ interviews that all he needs to do is not trip or break the rickshaw. Timmy hands off to Mark. Mark interviews that if he hustles and the Rookies have problems with their “chariot,” he would have a shot.
MJ runs. Mark runs. Fake suspense...fake suspense...and MJ finishes the lap, winning the mission for the Rookies. Cue the usual hugging and kissing from the team. Kina interviews that nobody has to go home, and the Veteran girls can fight. Ruthie looks on at the Rookies’ celebration. David interviews that the girls played “power politics” and that it distracted the team. Mark finishes his lap. Montana tells us that she didn’t want the exemption, but she didn’t want Beth to get it, “because she just sucks at being a person.” Tell this woman that she’s wrong. I dare ya. Countdown to Disaster: 5:21.
TJ wraps things up, noting that the Veterans started strong, but the Rookies passed them Kina does a cute princess act, as her team rolls her on the rickshaw to the $10,000 check and her $1,000 gift card. She interviews that she loves being a captain, and she wonders what she’ll get with her card. Jodi points out that the teams are even at $30,000 apiece, and she thinks the Rookies will pass the Veterans next time. TJ reminds everybody that Ruthie will be going to the Gauntlet, and he gives the Veterans 30 minutes to choose her opponent. Syrus tells TJ to be cool. Countdown to Disaster: 4:31.
Gauntlet Deliberation. Aneesa asks the girls if they have any issues. Shots of silent Montana and Beth. Mark asks Ruthie what she thinks. Ruthie just wants what the team wants. She interviews that Robin doesn’t push it that much, and that she’s not friends with Beth, who did good today. Beth speaks up, bringing up how Syrus was exempt because of his weight, and how she should have gotten the same thing for the same reason. She claims to have stepped up and proved herself, then she labels Montana as the weakest player, and how she gets to sit out. Montana doesn’t think that’s fair, and that she wasn’t trying to call Beth out. “Beth is just digging her own grave,” she interviews, “just like she’s done so many times before. It’s a last-ditch attempt by a desperate woman to keep from going to the Gauntlet.” Julie tells everybody to vote honestly, and to base it on who they want at the end.
Voting. Ace interviews that he’s not focuses on who goes to the Gauntlet, but rather who Ruthie could beat, since he doesn’t want her to go home. More voting. Derrick rubs his head. Ruthie tallies the votes. TJ ambles in, asking for the team’s decision. Ruthie starts to tell, and the producers shuffle shots of Beth, Aneesa, Robin and Montana to build suspense. Our lucky opponent...is Beth. TJ spins the wheel...and it looks like he slows it down. I had to check the tape, but I think he just points at it. The event: Challenger’s Choice. Uh oh. TJ asks Beth to pick an event. Ruthie and Julie have hands on their heads. Beth likes Reverse Tug-Of-War. Ruthie: “It’s like 2,000 pounds against two.” She adds that she has to think of something because “good hearts” on the team believe in her. TJ tells the Veterans that he’ll see them in the Gauntlet. Ruthie’s hands are still on her head, while Beth smiles. She interviews on the disbelief that she got voted in. “That was the stupidest thing they could have done,” she adds. “Now, you’ve got two strong girls up, and one’s gonna have to go home.” Beth is strong? Since when? That isn’t not funny. “Well, guess what? I’m not a weak player. I’m a very strong player, and people are going to be really shocked to see what happens next.” Eerie prophecy. Countdown to Disaster: 2:14.
Gauntlet. TJ welcomes the players back, bringing in Ruthie and Beth to the area. He goes over the rules of Reverse Tug-Of-War. There are flags on either side of the Gauntlet. The players are tied together by ten feet of rope. First person to get to the flag wins and stays in the game. TJ asks Beth if she wants the captain’s position, or if she’ll throw it. Beth replies that she would rather just walk away from the situation. Derrick stands up, his fingers crossed, and I wish I could read lips. Aneesa: “We are all thinking: Is Beth going to do this Gauntlet? Is she going to back down? Can she please back down so we can say Ruthie?” Beth tells TJ that her team doesn’t want her, and she doesn’t want to be part of the negativity. “You know how I feel about quitting, Beth,” TJ blathers. “You can’t quit on this. This is the Gauntlet.” Man, shut UP, TJ. And get a damn shave. Syrus: “I’m not a physics major. Not even good at math. But if you put little itty-bitty Ruthie against Beth, which is a whole lotta woman, we got a problem!” Countdown to Disaster: 0:56. The captain has turned off the “No Screaming” sign.
TJ rings the bell, and both players rush forward and stumble back. Derrick yells for Ruthie to move her feet. She zig-zags, but Beth is lurching forward. Landon yells from the sidelines, while MJ jumps around. “Ruthie is kicking ass,” Mark interviews. “She’s crawling, scratching, stayin glow, and I’m thinking, ‘Is she gonna pull this off?’” Ruthie continues to struggle to make forward movement. “She’s showing why she is Ruthie, and why people like her so much.” A comment from Mark where I don’t hate him afterwards. What were the odds? Syrus mutters that this is too close for comfort. TJ actaully yells for Beth to dig to become the team captain. What is your malfunction, man? Beth goes forwards, with Ruthie trying her best. Montana and Aneesa cringe, and Kina shouts, “Come on, captain! Come on, captain!”
Background music gets spooky. Ruthie whimpers “no,” seeing something horrible in her future. Beth keeps going forward, all those bon bons she’s scarfed down coming through her. Derrick yells to Ruthie that Beth is almost there. Ruthie claws and growls. We go to slow-motion, which is never good in this situation. Beth inches towards her flag. Ruthie struggles. On the sideline, David actually turns away. And...Beth grabs the flag. Game Over, Beth wins, we have the worst upset ever in a Challenge...and that includes Trishelle beating Steve. As Beth throws the flag to the side, the Rookies clap. I’m guessing it’s safe for them to start making plans for the $150,000 final mission money. Alton says this is that best he’s ever seen. The Veterans look shattered. Montana: “It’s a mix of horror and disbelief, and our team is stunned, shocked, silent for the first time ever, just thinking how are we going to pull this through when we have Beth as our captain.”
TJ congratulates Beth, spewing crap about how a lot of people questioned her heart. Beth: “I think I have a lot of people questioning me in general.” You think? TJ notes that Beth proved she had a lot of heart and strength. Ruthie: “And a lot of weight.” A tad ungracious, but considering that Beth got so lucky, I’ll allow it. TJ tells Ruthie that nobody ever questioned her heart, and he gives her twenty minutes to pack up and leave. “Oh, man,” Ruthie interviews. “I feel like I lost.” She gets hugged by her team. Robin covers her face with her arms. Timmy interviews that nobody on the team thouhgt Ruthie would be going home. “It’s a bad worst-case scenario,” he adds. That it is, man.
Once again, TJ congratulates Beth, and she gets a token hug from Mark and a handshake from Derrick. And now, it’s time for Delusional Bitch Theater. “Okay, I’m like the last person that anyone would ever think to be the captain. And now I’m the captain. And there is nobody on my team that can beat me. So good luck, ladies!” She’s still at the bottom of my list. I’m sure that any woman on the Veterans side can whip her. She gets lucky once, and now she thinks she’s all that. Honestly, how does she not get her ass kicked in real life? Montana comes over to congratulate Beth, insisiting that she’s serious. Beth claims she didn’t want to fight. Montana tells Beth that she likes her, and that they’re grown women. I’m trying to imagine Montana was sounding insincere, since I can’t picture her as a huge flip-flopper. Montana walks away, and Beth makes a “gag me” motion at the camera. Classy as always.
Mansion. Ruthie gets hugs from Julie and Alton. Derrick admits that sending Beth to the Gauntlet wasn’t a smart move. Ruthie: “It is what it is.” She interviews about being nervous for the people she’s leaving behind. “The only advice that I can give that team,” she adds, “is don’t stop fighting and beware of people who have, in the past, proven that they are manipulative.” Ruthie is packed up, and she walks down the stairs. Landon hugs her, telling her that they’ll be on the same team next time. I know we’re harsh to frequent Challengers, but I wouldn’t mind seeing her again. She walks out. Sigh.
“I’m the fucking captain!” Beth cackles, as she moves into the captain’s quarters. She interviews that she’s sitting pretty, and everybody underestimated her, and she showed them what she’s got. Body mass? Derrick: “Beth is the queen. That is a scary thought. I hope she doesn’t go on a power trip, because people will set her straight.” Long live the king, baby. Beth gets the other captains to do a toast. Kina interviews about the realization that somebody might move into her bed. I guess we can kiss the “captains bonding” subplot good-bye. Beth tells Derrick that she was the last person he thought would become captain. Derrick: “Definitely!” Beth cackles some more, telling Derrick that she’s a tough girl. “I’m a nice person,” she interviews. “Just work with me, and I’ll work with you. If you’re gonna fuck with me, I’m gonna fuck you harder!” That’s an image I don’t need....and it’s probably worse for anybody who saw her Playboy spread. She plops on the big bed. “If the girls’ team loses again...Montana, your ass is mine. And I can’t waaaaiiit to send you home!” Hey, genius? The guys can hurt you, too. And I’m hoping that if it comes down to you and Montana, she can and will kick your sorry ass so hard, the Botox will be undone. I believe in karma...and I know Beth ain’t gonna stay on for too much longer.
Next time: Something with pushing trucks. Julie’s screaming, inching her way to the inevitable mid-season breakdown. Alton isn’t happy with the idea of people forming alliances. Kina tells Randy and Jodi to watch certain people. Landon asks somebody if they’re in an alliance, and Susie’s jaw drops.