Sunday, February 19, 2006

Gauntlet 2, Episode 11: Resistance Is Futile

Previously on Gauntlet 2: The Veterans lost their fourth mission in a row, while the Rookies increased their advantage to $60,000-$30,000. In the Gauntlet, Derrick kicked Syrus out of the game. Timmy: “If we lose one more, we’re gonna snap.”

Time lapses from night to day. The Veteran males chill in their room, bumming over their lack of fortunes. Timmy comments about not being on a losing team before. Yeah, after being on the somewhat successful Road Rules team on Battle of the Seasons and the overdog RR squad in Inferno, this would be new to him. At least his Steelers won the Super Bowl. Mark notes that every guy lost makes the team weaker, while every guy the Rookies lose makes them stronger. Brad thinks the Veterans need to get together, then refers to a “little bit of cancer” on the team. Golly, I wonder who he means. Brad continues about how Beth kills morale on the team. Cut to Beth’s “gag me” gesture after her chat with Montana. “Beth is conniving,” David interviews. “She’s constantly trying to create divisions in te team. As a captain, she wants respect, but I don’t hear her. If you want to be respected, you have to speak up and contribute with a good plan.” Cut to Timmy: “Here’s the deal: one of us is gonna have to bang Beth.” The males laugh, because there’s not enough alcohol to make that happen.

Speaking of the luckiest beeyotch, she’s telling Kina about how this is a popularity contest, and she wonder why she should help the team win money. “They don’t think that I’m an asset to the team,” Beth snipes in an interview, “so it’s like, what do I have to do?” I’m leaning towards “leave and never come back.” Beth tells Kina that she feels dirty thinking about it. Cry me a river.

Some time later, Randy rubs Kina’s shoulder. Elsewhere, Susie gripes to Cara about how Kina didn’t say “hi” to her. The camera zooms to the not-quite-dynamic duo lying together on the couch, each holding a half-full glass, each not liking Kina. Susie thinks that the Road Rules: X-Treme girls are an unit, and her bonding with Cara has led to the foursome getting madder. “Cara and Susie are good competitors,” Kina interviews, “but they isolate themselves all the time. I feel like they make the team less cohesive.”

Clue time! Cara reads off the phone. This week’s key phrase: “Don’t let your team down.” Meet at the Port Authority at 9 a.m., wear bathing suits and tennis shoes. Cut to David and Robin stretching on their own. As for Timmy? Well, he’s wearing a wig and a t-shirt with a cartoon of a bikini-clad girl’s torso. I like Timmy a lot, but I’m starting to think that he carries more props with him than Carrot Top. He interviews that since it’s a female Gauntlet day, he has to think like a female. “Out backs are against the wall,” he tells us. “We’ve got to come out scratching, clawing, doing anything to pull out a victory. I’m sick of losing.”

Daytime. Beach. Mission site. TJ welcomes everybody to the Port Authority for today’s mission: Pull Me. He shows a platform that is suspended twenty feet over the water. The teams will hold on to a rope which keeps teammates over the water on the platform. They let go of the rope, the platform hits the water, and the turn ends. After both teams have a shot, they will go again...only this time, the rope-holders will get on the platform, and vice versa. If a team goes past 30 minutes in a round, the person in the anchor position (in the back) has to let go of the rope. The team with the longest combined time wins $10,000 for the bank account. Since this is a female Gauntlet team, the winning captain gets a year’s worth of movie tickets. “I am so sick of losing,” Julie interviews. “If we don’t win today, I’m gonna lose my mind.” It’s nice that she’s so sane, she hasn’t thought of peeing on somebody else’s bed.

Strategy sessions. Mark tells us that the Veterans will be spilt up by weight and strength. He adds that they need things mixed, as opposed to having all of the guys pull the weight, since this is a “girl Gauntlet.” Dammit, why are you playing to win with Beth’s butt on the line? On the Rookies’ side, Kina doesn’t want two people with the same weight on the same side. Once again: divided by weight and strength.

Rookies Heat One. On the rope: MJ (anchor), Alton, Jeremy, Jodi, Susie, Jillian. TJ blows his airhorn, and the team starts tugging on the rope, straining all the way. “We have this,” Alton interviews, ignoring the vultures of foreshadowing. “Our players are lighter. We feel our players are stronger.” Landon sits on the platform, yelling that it’s all mental. Alton: “So I feel like we have this in the bag.” MJ figures it’s all about positioning, grip and forearms. Joid and Alton grunt, and veins start popping on Alton’s bald head.

Back from commercials, the Rookies make it to the 9:30 mark. Ibis tells us that she sees Alton in pain, MJ turning purple and Jodi screaming, and it’s looking hard from her view on the platform. The Rookies keep pulling. Time for a lesson from Dr. Mark. “Anyone knows tug-of-war, you never rely on your hands. It’s all about locking ropes within your body and almost being able to free your hands.” The platform lowers, as the Rookies keep tugging. Eventually, they let go, and the platform-sitters take a bath. Total time: 11:11. Alton thinks they did a good job. “It wasn’t humanly possible for us to do anything more than what we did,” he interviews. “Is it enough to win? I don’t know.”

Veterans Heat One. On the rope: Mark (anchor), David, Beth, Robin, Katie. TJ blows the airhorn. The Veterans do not move, as Mark enters his zone. “This isn’t a pulling competition,” he interviews. “It’s a resistence competition. We’re not pulling it all, we’re resisting the fall. Use your own body weight, plant your ass on the ground, form a little unit, and just resist.” The plan works, as the team goes past 19:50. Robin asks the others if they’re okay. The strain gets to Beth; she interviews that her hands are getting numb, but she’s hanging on because she does not want to go to the Gauntlet.

TJ counts down to the thirty-minute mark, then orders Mark off the rope. Without the added strength, the rope-handlers struggle, as their platform-sitting teammates shout encouragement. Beth really looks like she’s in pain. Elapsed time: 32:11. Jeremy interviews that the Veterans are slipping, and it will come down to seconds. Finally, the rope is let go at 33:01. Robin hopes that the second unit can last thirty minutes in order to blow the Rookies out.

Rookies Heat Two. On the rope: Randy (anchor), Landon, Jamie, Ibis, Kina, Cara. The sextet locks into place, taking a clue from the Veterans. Cara interviews that she will give her all and do everything that she can. Landon strains on the rope, drops of water on his head. After thirty minutes, TJ calls Randy off. Landon notes that he can barely hold on once Randy’s strength is gone. He ends up bailing out to shake his hands. The girls immediately lurch forward, and the platform lowers. Landon jumps back on, but the platform hits the water at 30:10. Cara feels that the team did not give up, and she doesn’t know if it’s good enough.

Veterans Heat Two. On the rope: Timmy (anchor), Brad, Derrick, Aneesa, Julie. Mark calmly gives instructions from the platform. The six holders look relaxed and strained at the same time. “Control yourself,” Timmy tells us, “and you can lay there all day.” That’s my philosophy when I wake up and it’s raining outside. A time graphic shows the Veterans passing the Rookies’ time of 41:21, earning the win. The platform people clap, but the rope folks still hang on. “You know what?” Derrick interviews. “You guys have kicked out ass in the past four challenges. We’re gonna sit here and fuckin’ just hold it as long as possible for the hell of it.” Sounds like a recipe for injury to me. Cara glumly looks on, as the Veterans struggle without Timmy’s pulling power. The platform finally drops gently in the water to complete the mission, and the Veterans celebrate with hugs. I’m thinking high-fives would be too painful to attempt.

TJ tells both teams that they did good. Timmy is back with the girl shirt and the wig, both of which I don’t want to see again. The Rookies’ time is 41:21, which TJ calls “very respectable” with a straight face. Veterans’ time: 1:00:03. TJ gives the check to Beth, along with the movie ticket gift certificate. Somehow, I just know she talks on the cell phone in a theater. “I’ve pretty much proven that I deserve to be a part of this team,” she interviews, “and I’m sick and tired of taking shit from everybody on the team. They don’t want me there, but they need me to win.” I’m thinking she’ll get hers in two weeks, but that’s about the time Julie ends up getting bounced from the Challenge (as seen in The Inferno and Inferno II). TJ announces that he will be seeing the Rookies later to find out who faces Kina in the Gauntlet.

Rookies’ Deliberation Meeting. Susie interviews that she knows Cara or herself will be going in to the Gauntlet, but she thinks they would do well there and end up changing the team dynamic. Kina thinks that the team did well today, and that the decision sucks. Kina ends up tabbing Cara, saying that she would do good as a captain. Cara stifles a laugh, then says "may the best girl win.” Applause. Landon: “Our deliberation is pretty cut and dry. She knew it, we knew it. Let’s get on with it.”

Here comes TJ to get the decision. He then spins the wheel. As the players wait, Landon places his hand on MJ’s knee. Okay, then. And...dammit. Captain’s Choice. Again. For the fifth freakin’ time in the last six episodes. Kina goes with Name That Coconut, probably because seven answers to the questions relate to herself and her ex-teammates on X-Treme. Everybody claps, as TJ hopes that Kina and Cara know their history. Time for dueling interviews! Kina: “She’s an obvious pick. I don’t think we’ve had the greatest team chemistry with her. I’d like to see how the team forms without her here.” Cara: “When there’s already talk about you going to the Gauntlet before you even have the deliberation meeting, you kinda know what to expect. If it’s supposed to be that I’m the next team captain, great. If not, then back to civilization, and maybe that’s not a bad thing.” After the team does a cheer, some genius brings in a cat hissing. Wasn’t that funny with Elka and Trishelle, and it’s not really funny here.

Gauntlet. Players file in. I see a dog follow them on the way over. TJ strokes the Veterans’ egos some more for their mission win. Timmy still has the t-shirt on, but no wig. TJ calls down Kina, Kina brings in Cara. TJ actually congratulates Cara, which stumps her and me. Susie’s hands are on her face, the pain is that great. TJ goes over the rules to Name That Coconut: he asks trivia questions, answers are on the coconuts, five points to win, loser goes home. More dueling interviews. Cara: “Kina, you’re a raging psycho. Clearly, you have a problem with me. I hope I win so that I’m the next captain and prove you wrong.” Kina: “You don’t care about the team, and you don’t care about a damn thing but yourself. And that’s why I’m gonna kick your ass and send you home.” It’s safe to say that I’m off Kina’s bandwagon. Both players get ready, and Kina hocks a loogie as we head to commercials.

Question #1: “Who did Julie mudwrestle in The Real World: New Orleans?” TJ rings the bell, and both girls run over to the coconuts. Cara gets on top of Kina, but Kina grabs a coconut and lunges towards the safety zone. TJ confirms the answer: Jamie. Flash back to the wrestling, when Julie was somewhat sane. Hey, there’s Jamie’s little friend! I haven’t thought of that kid in so long. Cut to present-day Jamie grinning. Kina is up, 1-0. “There’s already so much violence and aggression,” Cara interviews. “It’s crazy. It’s not going to be a pretty game.”

Question #2: “Who replaced Puck when he was kicked off The Real World house?” Kina gets to the coconuts first. Both look over the answers. Kina grabs Cara from behind, but Cara gets to the safety zone as she falls. Derrick’s mouth is wide open, while some girl makes cat hissing noises. Cara’s answer of Jodi is incorrect, meaning that Kina can look for the answer at her own leisure. I don’t think Cara was that dumb...she just got confused. TJ announces that the correct answer is “Joanne.” Cut to 1994, and Cory welcoming Jo into the house. Kina leads, 2-0. “It’s exhausting,” she interviews. “I’m tired, but I know that I have to really suck it up and kick her ass.”

Question #3: “Who was the first person ever voted off Road Rules?” I was actually wondering why they would bring up Abram. Yes, I can be that stupid. Both players trot to the coconuts. Susie interviews that watching Cara in the Gauntlet is painful to watch, and she wishes that Cara knew the answers. Kina quickly snatches a coconut and lunges to the safety zone. Cut to Randy with a big dopey grin on his face. Turns out that Jisela was the correct answer. Cut to the voting scene in RR: The Quest. Kina leads, 3-0. TJ tells Cara to hang in there.

Question #4: “This cast member was not allowed to return to college after their participation in The Real World.” Could we make the questions a little tougher? Both girls grapple...Cara pulls down Kina, but Kina gets to the safety zone. Naturally. Julie is the correct answer. Cut to old-school Julie worrying about breaking the rules. Naturally, Susie is not looking happy. Kina leads, 4-0.

Question #5: “Who has a matching tattoo with Landon?” Kina rushes to the coconuts, and Cara shoves her to the side. Kina looks at her, and the crowd goes, “Oooooooohhh!” Cara pushes, as Landon jumps up and down like an idiot. Cara grabs a coconut, but Kina shoves her and grabs her shirt. Derrick has a big grin, and both sides erupt in chaos. Kina flails, breaking Cara’s bra in the process. “Who wants to stay more?” Julie shouts from the grandstand. Kina has a coconut, grunting, “I do, bitch!” She lunges to the safety zone with the correct answer: MJ. Cut to file footage of “xv” tattoos on Landon’s torso and MJ’s right calf. I understand most of the cast members from RW: Philadelphia have similar tattoos, but it’s more fun imagining Karamo and Willie watching at home going, “Damn, and I thought I was gay.” Anyway, Kina wins 5-0, and gets a big hug from Big Rand. He interviews that her win means she dserves to be the captain. Keep telling yourself that, buddy.

Denouement. TJ is happy neither girl gave up. He congratulates Kina, then gives Cara twenty minutes to get out. Both sides clap, and Kina gets another hug from Randy. She interviews that she’s happy to come back to her boyfriend, and the team knows she was meant to be here.

Mansion. Cara tells Susie that she hates to leave her here, and she would like to take her home. I know it sounds silly, since they'll see each other soon, but I’m thinking that Kina will probably beat up Susie, while the other three girls hold her down. Speaking of the captain, Kina comes in with a glass in hand, telling Cara that she did good, and she has a chance to speak her mind with “no combat, no nothing” from Kina. Cara tells Kina that she wasn’t being a team player while excluding her. “Kina, you were a horrible captain,” Cara interviews. “Wise up, mature up, and you might find yourself with a few more friends.” Cara tells Kina that she knows nothing about her. Kina interrupts about not having to know anything. “Was it my turn to talk?” snipes Cara. Kina repeats that Cara did good tonight. Cara says that she’s trying to have “last minute moments.” Once again, Kina wants to tell Cara that she did a great job, then she leaves. “How old is she again?” Cara asks Susie. “Please remind me.” Susie gets a good laugh from that. Kina interviews that the Rookies have a bigger advantage with Cara gone. “The new school will win,” she adds, “absoultelty, hands-down, without a doubt. I wonder if it will be competition.”

Outside, Susie is the only person to see Cara off. Cara sobs about how much Susie meant to her. Both girls cry and laugh and hug. Cara interviews that she’ll miss Susie, and she wants her to win. “It’s not the end, Susie,” she continues, “because we’re going to be lifetime buddies.” They say their goodbyes, and Cara rides off into the night.

I’ve heard a lot about how nasty Cara and Susie were. I’ve heard rumors about a threesome with Jamie...which would be sick, since Susie is supposed to be married. Yet, I can’t hate either one of them. I can hate Kina, though. She has a stick so far up her hinder, she’s spitting splinters. How special is a captain when she got the job from finishing runner-up in a rock-paper-scissors tournament? It’s a bad scene seeing the X-Treme ladies in action; Kina’s a bitch, Ibis is her lapdog, Jillian is a crap-stirrer, and Jodi is a train wreck. I hope that Cara was telling the truth on The After Show when she said that Randy was cheating on Kina. After Beth gets what’s coming to her, may Susie dismantle Kina in the Gauntlet.

Next time: MJ: “The vacation is over, dude. Now it’s the money.” The mission has the players climb through tires suspended over water. Alton struggles, trying to get to a faraway tire. Looks like Superman isn't so super after all.

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