Monday, February 27, 2006

Gauntlet 2, Episode 12: Tired and Sick

I just want to apologize for anybody who has been waiting. I got hung up on the New York Comic-Con this past weekend, and I now know there are worse things than dealing with Beth week after week. Like coming back to the Javits Center after a quick lunch and finding myself in a throng of pissed-off fanboys, who got kept out due to overcrowding. After that, listening to Beth make feeble excuses is a breeze.

Previously on Gauntlet 2: The Rookies’ four-mission winning streak came to an end with a loss in Pull Me. Kina thrashed Cara in the Gauntlet, puncuating her winning point with “Beat it!” If I’m Randy, I', taking all the herbal stuff that I can just to look at her. Kina figures that with Cara gone, the Rookies will win.

We’re at the club again, with the usual booty-shaking merriment. Ibis interviews that everybody is enjoying staying in the game, not dealing with competition until it come ups.

Mansion. Jeremy is on the computer. He tells us that it is 1:30 a.m, and he got woken up by his wasted colleagues. “This isn’t goof for our team,” he adds. Some of the guys talk out loud and laugh, and I’m thinking the alcohol fumes would knock me back about ten feet. Cut to Jeremy sitting down, with a case of severe frowny-face. “No self-control,” he snipes to us. “If you can’t practice it when you’re off the field, then you’re not practicing it on the field, plain and simple.” At this point, I started staying goodbye to Jeremy. Yes, it was that obvious.

Daytime. David and Beth hang out. David is psyched, while Beth feels that they have to think every mission will be their last. “I’m one of the strongest people on the team,” Beth interviews with a straight face. “But I still don’t really know if people believe that I’m a good competitor.” Here’s a hint: no they don’t, honey. David tells us that he’s trying to pump Beth up. “I know she’s gonna try and I know she wants to stay,” he continues. “And frankly, I’m nervous if she stays. I wouldn’t trust Beth as far as I can throw her.” He said the same thing about Susie and Cara. Would the same apply to Ruthie, since she’s small and lovable? “I think there’s something ingrained in her that is just naturally deceptive.” Preaching to the choir, bub.

Clue time at the dinner table. MJ’s hair is weirdly tied back as he reads, “Don’t get too tired out tomorrow.” Yadda yadda, wear team colors and bathing suits, get ready to leave at 7:30 a.m. David interviews about being nervous to go into the Gauntlet. “If I do go in there,” he admits, “I’m gonna bite somebody’s head off.”

Later, the Rookies have a meeting. Alton brings up the winning streak that just got snapped. MJ adds that the vacation is over, and now it’s about the money. He interviews that Alton is the one guy he doesn’t want to face in the Gauntlet, and he doesn’t think he’ll go, but it would be a war if he does.

New day. Mission site. Shot of tires suspended in the air. TJ welcomes everybody to the Port Authority for today’s mission: Spare Tires. The deal: players have to dive into the water, climb a ladder, and make their way through the tires within ten minutes. Along the way, they have to pull a release latch, which sends a tire to the water below. Over time, fewer tires makes the mission more difficult. Jodi expositions that the last player has the toughest run, since that person will have to release two tires and crawl through thirteen of the original 24. TJ adds that once a player makes it through and drops towards the water, and next person can start. This continues until the entire team is across. Julie tells us that players get one point for each tire cleared, but not only are no points awarded for falling, but the next person has to drop two tires. TJ notes that the team with the most points gets $10,000 for the bank account, and the winning male captain gets a satellite boombox with a year’s subscription and safety from the Gauntlet. Jamie interviews that he doesn’t want to see any of the guys or himself go home. Brad feels that his head is on the chopping block, then adds that Beth is afraid of heights, and she blew one mission already. “If she pulls another stunt like that,” he adds, “I’m gonna be real upset with her.”

TJ tells the Rookies that they have to sit out one guy. Landon feels that Randy should be sidelined, since MJ has a longer reach. The team goes along with this plan. Landon interviews that they will send out a smaller and weaker person first, and if this person can’t male it one the first try, they can’t do it on the last try. Jeremy feels that his neck is on the line, and he doesn’t want to go. On the Veterans’ side, Brad notes that the team is “guesstimating” crawling ability. He asks Beth how comfortable she is with the tires. Julie interviews that Beth said she feels confident going at the beginning, so she will be going third. Beth tells us that she won’t be pretending she’ll be a professional on this mission. Derrick adds that he’ll give his best, and a win would pull his team closer tot he Rookies.

The Veterans start first. After TJ blows his airhorn, Katie jumps into the water and climbs the ladder. She interviews about trying to go as fast as she can, but the course is harder for short people like herself who can’t stretch through the tires. Timmy: “Come on, you little squirrel! Butter them hips!” Katie manages to pull through, dropping out of the tires with 23 points. David follows suit, as his shorts get puleld around his ankles. He drops a tire, struggles, then scores 22 points. “If we can get by Bethasaurus,” he interviews, “if she can get through, I think we can bang this one out.”

Beth’s turn. She gingerly climbs the ladder and gets into the tires, while Derrick shouts advice at her. Timmy: “That’s it! You’re Wonder Woman!” Dude, she's not ever Etta Candy. Naturally, Beth gets stuck. She interviews about not wanting to move because she’s afraid to fall. Brad: “I just want to see some kind of effort out of this girl, to make it look like she’s even remotely concerned with the team’s positon.” Beth continues to go slow as we head into commercials.

Beth still struggles. Robin interviews that watching Beth is “horrific,” to the point where the team tells her to drop. She does, getting no points. Loser.

Brad drops two tires on his run. He interviews that he went as fast as he could, then he makes a point to say that he didn’t find it difficult. He gets 20 points for his effort, followed by Aneesa (19), Timmy (18), Robin (17) and Derrick (16) “I feel like an earthworm,” Julie interviews as we see her crawl. “My hips are getting stuck and I’m squirming, and I’m just trying to reach as far as I can.” She reaches for a tire that is three steps away and nails it for 15 points.

Mark’s run. He reaches out to a tire that is four places away, using his feet to push off of another tire. Julie: “Come on, Tarzan! Swing it!” Mark gets it, as Randy studies a list of tires, scratching his head. I guess he got scouting duty while sitting on the sidelines. Mark gets 13 points (listed as 15), and he hopes the Rookies will have problems of their own. On the side, Julie hugs David, reminding him of how Beth said she would be good at the beginning. “Honey,” he mutters, “I don’t want to say her name. I don’t even want to look at her right now.” Timmy interviews that Beth is once again the only person not to come through, and that she didn’t give “an honest try.” The Veterans have 163 points total.

Rookies’ run. TJ blasts his airhorn, sending Ibis into the water. Alton tells her that it’s all in her legs. She gets through the tires and struggles, ending up slouched between two tires...and she falls off, triggering a huge celebration on the Veterans’ side. This is a fun mission, but now it’s basically over for the Rookies. There is no mathematical way that the Rookies can win now, but we're going through the motions. Ibis comes up crying, getting a hug from Kina. If that was Susie falling from the tires, Kina would have dropped her back in. “It’s the worst feeling ever,” Ibis understates. “It just sucks.” Derrick interviews that he figures anything can happen, and he hopes Ibis helped him out.

MJ crawls through the tires. TJ reminds him to let two tires drop, and then he calls him “brother.” I’m clinging on to the vain hope that somebody punches TJ by the end of the season. MJ pulls through, getting 22 points. He is followed by Jillian (21), Jamie (20), a struggling Susie (19) and Jeremy (18). Kina struggles to reach a tire, twirling in the opposite direction. She manages to kick off a back tire, and she succeeds to get 17 points. Landon (16) and Jodi (15) squeeze through.

Alton dives in, with no chance of winning whatsoever. He interviews that he’s confident in himself. Eventually he tries to get to a tire which is four places in front of him. Randy notes that the team is expecting Alton to come through. “He’s always been our man in the clinch to come through,” Randy adds, “and just give the best performance.” Shot of Alton trying to push off a single tire. “It’s hard to watch him try everything in his bag of tricks from climbing to get across this gap.” Alton continues to push off, only to spin around. He then gets out from the tire, clinging to it. Mark interviews that unless Alton can swing to the next tire, he’s a sitting duck. One of the Rookies yells for Alton to jump to the next tire. A smiling Julie tells Beth that he’ll jump. Alton swings around, as Suse puts her head down. He slips, hanging on with his hands, as we take a break.

Alton: “I’m just hanging. Can’t do anything, dangling like a spider with no more web to spin.” TJ counts down from ten seconds, as a few Rookies applaud Alton for his effort. He drops, and the game is over. The Veterans cheer, and Beth jumps around like she had something to do with it. Landon and Jeremy greet their captain with man-hugs. Alton interviews that it sucks wehn he has to be there for the team. “It’s days like today,” he continues, “that let you know that you’re human, vthat let you know that it’s all about a team effort. There’s not one individual that’s gonna win any competition for anybody.”

Denoument. TJ announces that the Rookies had two people fall off, and they got 148 points. The Veterans had one person fall (lingering shot at Beth), and they received 163 for the victory. Derrick comes up to get the $10,000 check, as well as his new boombox. The Veterans now have $50,000 to the Rookies’ $60,000. TJ adds that he will see Alton in the Gauntlet, and he leaves the Rookies to “deliberate in the crib.” Man, shut up, TJ. Jamie notes that this the team’s second loss in a row, and this is the time where teams get cut down. He adds that Alton would be stupid to put him in. MJ: “If I’m picked to go in it, I’m not just gonna sit there and be like, [swtiching to country bumpkin voice] ‘I’m sorry a little bit. I feel like I could’ve done more.’ Fuck that! I want to be here in the end.” When did MJ get so funny on purpose?

Rookies Deliberation Meeting. Alton apologizes for messing up. We get drawn-out suspense on who he’ll pick to join him in the Gauntlet, as the camera gives us MJ, Jeremy and Jamie. Finally, Alton picks Jeremy, who was not expecting to be picked. “Maybe I got these huge blinders on right now, Alton, but come on, man!” he bitches in an interview. “Wake up and smell the coffee! This is not the right decision.” Is he kidding? He blew one mission, and Adam K. went to the Gauntlet in his place. And compared to the stallions of the Rookies’ side, he’s just a show pony.

TJ swing by to get the pick. Jeremy makes it clear that he wasn’t prepared. TJ spins the wheel...and for once, it doesn’t land on Captain’s Choice. Instead, Alton and Jeremy will be competing in Capture the Flag. Alton interviews that Jeremy has performing well in every mission, but he hasn’t be performing about and beyond.

Gauntlet. TJ welcomes everybody to the site before calling down Alton and Jeremy. He goes over the rules to Capture the Flag: the players zip up opposing sides of a cargo net, trying to grab a flag at the top. Winner stays, loser goes home. Jeremy interviews that twenty feet will decide who will go home. Alton: “You never know what’s going to happen here. I just hope that God has me in his favor today, and that I come out on top. God: “That’s okay, you really don’t need me.” Jeremy mutters a prayer. No, seriously. “Everything is always in Your hands, Lord. Honor and glory be Yours, amen.” Personally, I’d be wishing for a jetpack, but that’s just me.

TJ rings the bell, and the guys climb the net. Jeremy struggles in Alton’s wake, and the big guy grabs the flag for the victory. Naturally, Jeremy looks bummed. Randy says that Jeremy came in with ferocity and spirit, but there was no way he could take Alton down. Jeremy tells us that it hurts to go home with the end being so near. Landon: “I’m bummed to see Jeremy go. He’s a good kid, but Alton is a very important person at the end for us.”

TJ wraps things up by giving Jeremy twenty minutes to clear out. Alton interviews that he never wanted to hurt anybody, but that this is a part of competiton. “The Gauntlet is a harsh place,” he adds. “It’s not made for the weak.” Unless you’re Beth. Jeremy: “Being withdrawn from the partying and being withdrawn from the late-night drinking escapades really hurt me in the end, but it was a prviilege to be on the team.” And we say goodbye to Jeremy, as BMP decides it’s not even worth it to have a farewell sequence, just like with Steve and Theo G. in the original Gauntlet.

Night. Brad tells Beth that she could have blown through the tires instead of just sitting there. Beth insists that she did not sit around, that she did not give up. “Beth is a straight-up disease to the team,” Brad interviews. “She takes zero responsibility for anything she does. She gets down, [switching to old lady voice] ‘I told you I wasn’t comfortable with tires.’ Well, no one here is comfortable with tires. I would absolutely love to get Beth off of our team for the fianl challenge.” He asks Beth if she would have given the same performance if there was a women’s Gauntlet. Beth evades a little, claiming that she never said she was perfect, “Accept me as a player,” she interviews, “and let’s win this money. Quit trying to sabotage Beth.” David tells Beth that if she doesn’t perform in the final mission, she’s screwed. “We’re playing for money here,” he tells her. “Either make it or you don't.” Cut to a close-up of Beth’s oily face. Cut to credits.

Next time: We have a mission with balancing on a platform. Kina: “I’m so ungodly pissed off, it’s not even funny.” Derrick: “This is where the game gets real ugly.” Beth bitches to somebody about saying stuff to her face. “I’m sick of being treated like crap,” she interviews. She tells Julie that the negative energy is fueling her. Aneesa: “Beth had better be shaking in her boots becasue I’m ready to kill that bitch.” Please don’t go teasing me, babe.

No comments: