Sunday, February 12, 2006

Gauntlet 2, Episode 10: Broken Bull

I just want to thank MTV for spoiling the Gauntlet match that will air this Monday. Just because this show isn’t your precious Laguna Beach doesn’t mean people aren’t still watching it. In fact, the total number of viewers comes to almost three show a little consideration for us, okay?

Previous on Gauntlet 2: Jodi got over Mark. Here’s hoping every other girl out there follows suit. The Veterans lost their third mission in a row when Beth decided not to step up in Balancing Act, giving the Rookies the lead, $50,000-$30,000. Naturally, the ugliest bitch on this season just had to survive, as Beth beat Montana in the Gauntlet. Afterwards, Beth and Derrick exchanged pleasantries. “If people fuck with me,” Beth sniped to the camera, “I just might fuck with their game. So work with me, or face the consequences.”

We open with Jodi and Alton chilling out. Alton has been talking to Kina about feeling the pressure of the captain’s position. “This game is crazy!” he interviews. “It’s like a revolving door where our room is.” He tells Jodi about how “General Landon” gets pale anytime he goes to the Gauntlet. Wait...Landon got nervous about Alton going up against Danny and Adam K.? Jodi admits to getting nervous for Alton, interviewing that she enjoys the big guy’s company, and how it’s nice to feel comfortable. “It doesn’t hurt that he’s hot, too,” she adds. Alton tells us that he’s attracted to Jodi, but he just came off a relationship with Irulan. Cut to a Gauntlet clip of the couple kissing before Alton went to the Gauntlet. Alton tells us that being with Jodi is “healing” for him.

Elsewhere, Beth sighs to Syrus about how the Rookies know what to do, while the Veterans flounder. She interviews about how she’s sick and tired of her team, and that Syrus is the only friend she has. Big whoop...I’ve seen him be chummy with Coral and Julie during The Inferno. She asks him who he feels the weakest guys are. Syrus figures it’s him and Brad. Wait...what about David and Mark? They both look like they’re aging in dog years. “My head is kinda on the chopping board, always,” Syrus interviews. “But anyone that knows me knows I’m not giving up on anything, ever.”

Clue time! Robin reads off the phone, making a mention to “buck wild.” Wear team colors and be ready to get on the bus at 9 a.m. She makes motions that vaguely resemble going “buck wild,” with MJ making his own dorky gestures. Derrick still wears the weird blue knit cap. At least he doesn’t have the jumprope. He interviews that the Veterans have lost three missions in a row, and his ass is on the line again. I wish still had the Fantasy Challenge. We could get ten points anytime somebody says “My ass/butt is on...”

Night turns to day. The players arrive at the mission site. I’ll let Jodi handle the first impression. “I see this humongous tubular contraption. It’s in the shape of a cross, hanging on bungee cords over big mats. What the hell is this thing?” It’s more of a plus sign (+), but she’s on mark otherwise. TJ welcomes everybody to Canoe Bay and today’s mission: Buck-a-Neer. One team gets loaded on our conceptual bull, while the other side pulls pulleys and bungees to knock them off. Robin expositions that while the players are straddling the barrels (the body of the bull), they can’t use their hands to hang on, or grab teammates in front or in back. Basically, you squeeze with your legs and hold on. TJ adds that if a team can’t get anybody off the bull after thirty minutes, both sides switch places, and the other team gets a half-hour to knock one person off. If both sides come up empty, they go to an “all-star” round with four people from each team on the bull, while the other side operates the bull. The team that stays on the bull the longest wins $10,000 for the team bank account. The winning male captain gets a shiny GPS system, great for when you wake up from a three-day binge and have no clue where you are. TJ concludes by telling the Veterans to step up. Brad tries to throw us off the trail, interviewing that his team needs to win the mission, because he wants to be here.

After a coin toss, the Rookies get on the bull. Jamie interviews that he doesn’t know how good it is to go first. TJ blows the airhorn to kick things off. The Veterans start pulling on the ropes, while the Rookies hang on. The Veterans grunt and pull, but the bull doesn’t move by much. Susie interviews that her team anticipated a wild ride, but the Veterans are having problems. Cut to her flapping her arms. Derrick pulls hard, getting lifted in the air by the rope. Timmy: “It’s just a bunch of drunk ferrets. No one’s working together. We can’t budge these people at all.”

Time remaining: 25 minutes. Rookies hang on, Veterans pull the ropes harder and harder. “You’re kicking our ass, ain’t ya?” MJ quips, mouthpiece firmly in place. David: “My team absolultely has no strategy. We have no idea what we’re doing. We’re pulling with all our might, we’re trying to pull this and that way, and nothing is working.” Veterans continue in vain, as Derrick walks away to rest up, as we head to commercials.

Time remaining: 15:00. Veterans pull, Rookies hang on. Aneesa interviews that nothing is happening, and that is embarrassing. Time remaining: 10:00. Cara interviews that the Veterans are not in synch, and the Rookies are sitting back and waiting for the end. Robin gives out instructions, only to hate Katie tell her that the Rookies can hear her. “They’re two feet in front of me, Katie,” Robin snaps back, “what do you want me to do?” Katie tells her to stop talking loudly. David: “I think we’re all college-educated, pretty smart guys. A lot of them haven’t even graduated high school yet, so I think we might have the advantage. [Julie laughs in the background] Hopefully, we work this one out. If not, I’m gonna lose about five pounds.” Huh?

Time remaining: 5:00. The Veteran tug with no result. Julie interviews that so much time has passed, the Rookies will just copy any new plans the Veterans can think up. Timmy kicks a bottle in disgust. TJ tells the Rookie they’re down to one minute. The Veterans sit around, cutting their losses and conversing their energy. TJ blows his airhorn to end the Rookies’ round. Timmy to camera: “You’re a bunch of idiots!” Is he talking about to the Veterans, or to us for watching this show? Susie interviews that the Veterans couldn’t get anybody off (pause here to retch at the thought), and now all the Rookies have to do is knock off one Veteran for the win.

The Veterans climb on the bull, and a few production assistants give Syrus a boost. That cannot be a good sign. Mark thinks that the Rookies will mess up, pushing the game into overtime. TJ reminds the Veterans that if one of them falls off, the Rookies win. After the airhorn blows, the Rookies get a little more movement from the bull with their synchronized pulling, but the Veterans stay on. Aneesa interviews that they can stay on all day. Timmy tells his team tho hang on and wear their opponents down. Landon interviews that pulling the ropes is more difficult than they thought, and they can’t get any momentum going.

Time remaining: 25:00. The Rookies chant “one, two,” bucking the bull up and down. Ibis interviews that the team feels stupid for making fun of the Veterans. Jodi starts to herd a few guys into pulling. The Veterans hang on...but Syrus can’t, and he hits the ground. Adding insult to injury, we get three different angles of the fall. Game Over, Rookies win, cue the celebration. Alton is happy that Jodi came up with the strategy at the right time to save his butt from the Gauntlet. Beth whines about finding out Syrus was the one to fall. More Rookie celebration as the Veterans dismount, and Julie flings her helmet off. Derrick interviews that this is the fourth consective mission that the Veterans have lost, and now somebody will have to go home.

TJ wraps things up by giving Alton the $10,000 check for the team, and the GPS system for himself. Jodi interviews that her team has a $60,000-$30,000 lead, and Alton doesn’t have to go to the Gauntlet. The best part: remember when Danny bitched about how his team would lose every mission after Alton knocked him off? Yeah, he was a regular Nostradumbass. Anyway, TJ tells the Veterans that he’ll see them later. Brad interviews that nobody is safe from the Gauntlet. “I’m not nervous thinking it’s gonna be me going to the Gauntlet,” he adds, “but I’m thinking I definately don’t want to send one of the guys home.”

Veterans’ Deliberation Meeting. Everybody sits around quietly. Derrick is pissed that the team has lost four in a row. Syrus thinks Buck-a-Neer was a tough event where nobody had a strategy. Beth asks how the team will figure out who to vote for. “Syrus is like the only friend that I have in the house,” Beth reminds us. “I don’t want Sy to go to the Gauntlet.” I like the big fella, but wanting Beth to fracture further is reason enough to send him home. Derrick doesn’t want to say anybody’s name because he likes everybody. Julie: “I’ve seen Syrus perform, and that man steps it up. I can’t live with myself if I vote for Syrus.” It’s a sad day when I sympathize with Julie on anything. Given how she’s been on every Challenge with Syrus has been on, I take her Syrus-love over Beth’s. Everybody gets to voting. Aneesa interviews that she loves Syrus, but he should stand up and admit losing the mission for the team. That’s a bit harsh...aside from cutting Cara with words, what difference has she made?

TJ comes over to get the voting result. Derrick proclaims that he’ll be facing Syrus. TJ spins the wheel...guess where it lands? For the fourth time, the wheel lands on Captain’s Choice. Derrick thinks things through before picking Beach Brawl. David is surprised by this pick. “You got Derrick,” he tells us, “who’s about 160 pounds, and you got Syrus, who’s about 230. I’m thinking Derrick doesn’t have much of a chance of winning.” The combatants slap hands and man-hug. Syrus interviews that he will never give up, and this is an event where he can beat Derrick.

Time passes. Derrick relates the Deliberation to Alton and Jodi, getting to the part where the wheel landed on Captain’s Choice. Alton cycles through Name That Coconut and Sticky Situation...and then it dawns on him and Jodi that Derrick picked Beach Brawl. This is my favorite part of this lackluster episode. Jodi offers that Derrick didn’t pick Reverse Tug-Of-War. Alton: “Why did you pick that?!” Derrick: “I don’t know.” At least he’s honest. And somewhat stupid. “He’s a big boy,” Alton adds. “Big boy.” He interviews that the Gauntlet is a David vs. Goliath situation. “Syrus is no joke,” Alton continues. “He doesn’t want to go home, especially not to some 21-year-old kid. That’s not the way he wants to go out.” Jodi hopes that Syrus doesn’t pick up Derrick and carry him out. Derrick interviews that he’s worried about his choice, especially since Syrus outweighs him by 80 pounds.

Gauntlet time! Shot of the Beach Brawl pit. Derrick jogs in, interviews that facing Syrus will be the hardest Gauntlet yet. Syrus walks...and naturally, Beth is by his side. I hope he left his wallet at the house. He interviews that he’s going in relaxed, and that this will be like shooting free throws to win.

TJ welcomes everybody to the Gauntlet, then he calls Derrick down. Derrick announces that he’ll be facing Syrus today. The big fella leaps down to the Gauntlet area. TJ goes over the rules to Beach Brawl...drag your opponent out of the ring, best-of-three, oil makes it tough to grab, winner stays, loser goes home. As the guys get oiled up, Susie thinks that this will be Derrick’s swan song, since Syrus has 70 pounds on him, and Beach Brawl is a physcial event.

Both players hunker down. TJ rings the bell. In the next shot, Derrick’s hand is on Syrus’s arm. This throws Syrus off long enough for Derrick to push him out of the circle for a 1-0 lead. Syrus yells about how his arm was grabbed, but TJ isn’t hearing it. An overhead replay shows Syrus getting out, but there’s no conclusive evidence that the touch came after the bell. Now we see something I’ve only observed twice...a really, really, REALLY pissed-off Syrus. “I’m a very sensitive, passionate man,” he tells us. “That’s just how I get down.” Both players lower themselves for the next round. Derrick interviews that Syrus is now more angry and fired up. “The last thing I need,” he adds, “is a big angry man trying to fucking topple over me after getting mad.”

TJ reminds everybody that Derrick is up 1-0, then starts them up again. Derrick’s head seems to start on Syrus’s shoulder at the start, as he plows into his larger opponent. Both guys wrestle. Beth cringing on the sideline. Syrus bends Derrick down, but the little guy pushes him out. Syrus gets even hotter, insisting that Derrick’s hand got out of the circle. Once again, TJ isn’t moved. An overhead replay doesn’t help, since Syrus obscures any evidence of Derrick’s hand. Put it this way: the edited footage doesn’t show that Syrus is right, but it doesn’t show that he’s wrong. This beats the gut reaction most people have: “Do you want a diaper or a Seahawks jersey?” Beth yells to Syrus that he wants this. Syrus interviews that his strategy is to land on Derrick as hard as he can.

Round Three. Syrus plows into Derrick hard. Derrick flips Syrus over, but not before going out himself. Cue the inconclusive overhead replay. A sand-covered Derrick decides to bellyache, but the decision stands. Beth cheers Syrus on, and you know Derrick is pissed off about that. Alton expostions that all Derrick needs to do is get one more point.

Round Four. Both players hunker down. Long wait. Crowd shots. Go! Derrick drives forward, head going between Syrus’s legs. We go to slow-motion, as Derrick plows into Syrus, knocking him out of the circle. Game Over, Derrick stays on. A few Rookies cheer, as Syrus gasps and spits out sand. Cut to a pained-looking Beth. I guess somebody’s going to be cursed out in Polish for a few more days. Derrick gives Syrus water and a man-hug. He interviews that not having Syrus for the next mission will take away manpower and brains. “He’s an awesome dude,” Derrick adds, “and losing him is not going to help us in the future.” David thinks it’s amazing for a “little guy” to use leverage to take out a larger opponent. “He’s such a bulldog,” he continues. “The kid’s non-stop.”

Denouement. TJ congratulates both players for a great show. Robin looks on behind the bars, impressed by her captain. “Derrick is amazing,” she interviews. “I think this Gauntlet sent fear to the rest off the guys, like, ‘We may have to go up against Derrick in the Gauntlet, and we probably will lose’.” TJ gives Syrus 20 minutes to clear out. “He beat me like a captain should have done,” Syrus says of Derrick. “I’ll always be a team player. I’ll always be a force to be reckon with. Today just wasn’t my day.” Beth whines to Julie about being pissed off, and how Syrus should still be here. Her voice cracks, and I just want her to shut up. Syrus takes a dip on the beach to clean off.

Mansion. Syrus walks down the stairs to applause. Mark interviews about how Syrus and Beth are friends outside of the game, and that his departure might affect Beth. Mark hopes that she can be focused and have confidence in her skills. I’m half-convinced that he and Beth are hooking up on the sly. Syrus hugs Aneesa, who doesn’t want him to go. Beth interviews that she can’t express her feelings, since Syrus is the only person she can trust. “Honestly,” she adds, “I don’t know if I have the strength to go on.” Then go! Run away like you did last season! Syrus rides off, and Beth’s cheek glistens with tears. Whatever. Come back soon, big fella!

Dizzy Rooster. Sorry...that’s Club 330 and Diver’s Den. The usual party-going and shenanigans. Jodi and Alton get closer to each other. She interviews about how they enjoy being around each other. She tells Alton that she knows where he is, since she’s been there. Alton admits that he hasn’t been there. “Like, love is a weird thing,” he notes. “It’s one of those things. It’s not, like, being drunk and then being sober.” Yeah, I’m not getting that. He interviews that there’s always lessons to be learned from relationships, and he’s building one that will last beyond this Challenge. We’ll see, Superman. We’ll see. They kiss. Fade to credits.

Next time: Kina thinks Cara and Susie isolate themselves from the group, and that they don’t have the team in mind. Maybe they’re in a sorority: Kappa Gamma We Didn’t Kill Road Rules Omega. Cara: “Kina, you’re a horrible captain!” The mission involves preventing a platform from dropping by holding onto a rope. Beth’s trying to hold on for dear life, because she doesn’t want to go to the Gauntlet. Poor baby. It should be an exciting episode, unless you saw the commercial...then you know which team wins, and who goes to the Gauntlet. Thanks again, MTV!

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