Saturday, February 04, 2006

Gauntlet 2, Episode 9: The Eighth Sign

Previously on Gauntlet 2: Beth and Montana bickered. Montana told us that Beth sucks at being a person. The Veterans were “stuck in neutral” during the Team Strength mission, and the Rookies upped their bank account to $40,000. Julie slammed the hood of a truck, and I’m pretty sure her psycho side will be coming out soon. Rumors of an alliance tore the Rookies apart, as Jillian claimed to have been approached by Cara and Susie. When confronted about it, Cara flipped out on the team, interviewing that she doesn’t know where they got the information.

Mansion. Jillian tells us that she’s decided to tell Cara and Susie about dropping a dime on them to the team. She tells them that she didn’t make it look like they would throw missions. Susie wants to know why Jillian said “you guys” when she was there with them. Jillian backpedals, saying it would have looked bad if she said something rather than saying nothing at all. “Look bad for who?” Cara asks. “I thought we were friends!” Susie interviews that Jillian ran to Kina with the information of the interteam alliance. “So now Jillian is a hero,” Susie adds, “and Cara has been officially villianized.”

Cara tells Kina that they need to put things out there because people are looking at her weird. Kina doesn’t agree with having another meeting. Ibis adds that if Jillian comes to the group and says stuff, it would make Kina look bad. Cara asks why not, then turns to Jillian, wondering what she told the team. Jillian agreed that they wouldn’t go through with the alliance. Ibis says that Jillian told the team that Cara went to the Veterans to give them information. This way, they all stay in the game and spilt the money. Wait...I thought collusion was outlawed after Battle of the Seasons. I mean, if it turns out Eric kicked back some dough for Mark after his “sacrifice,” I might have to hurt them both. Anyway...Ibis thinks that deal makes Cara look like a mastermind. Jillian argues that it didn’t go down that way, that Cara came to her and Susie and told them what the guys had said, but she wouldn’t do it. Kina tells Jillian that she didn’t say that. Cara asks if she should have gotten the information and laughed at Brad. Does it show how bored I am writing about this? I should be giving out prizes for anybody wading through this.

Time for Kina to get pissy. “The fact that you even had a conversation,” she snipes, “that would entail fucking people on our team is pissing me off right now, and will piss everyone off as well. So please take my advice and don’t rehash it.” Ibis: “For real.” Kina stalks off, accompanied by Ibis and Jillian. Cara tells Kina that she’s not approachable. Kina just mutters “okay” and walks away. “That, not effective, Kina,” Cara pipes up. “Don’t walk away from people.” Kina interviews that she doesn’t care if they have 10,000 meetings where Cara talks the entire time, that nothing will change the proposition that was made. Cara interviews that Kina isn’t willing to hear how things should have gone, even though she wasn’t there.

Elsewhere, the Veterans are gathered in the males’ room. Robin notes that the Rookie team is angry because Cara and Susie had a deal with the Veteran guys. David expositions that the alliance was supposed to be with him, Brad and Timmy joining forces with Susie and Cara. The problem there is that David would never trust either of the girls as far as he could throw them. Brad notes that Cara thought it was unfair that Kina gets to call who her opponent would be in the Gauntlet, and that there are so many castmates from her season (which I called a few weeks ago). “I have no motive to make an alliance with [Cara],” Brad interviews. “She’s the one on the chopping block. She’s the one worried about Kina. I’m in great spirits with my team. I’m in a great position with my team in all the challenges.” Brad then tells his team, “I feel very violated right now,” adding that he wants them to know he’s there for them. I’ve seen Brad get a wedgie...I’m guessing he’d be even less cheerful if he got violated.

Clue time! Randy reads from the phone, as the clue mentions “team balance.” Brad wraps up the reading: meet TJ at Tobago Port at 9:30 a.m. Timmy reminds us that the Veterans have lost two missions in a row, and they have to nip the losing streak in the bud.

Night turns to day. Shot of girls getting ready. Jamie and his chest hair hops off the bunk. The players leave the house. Cara whispers “help me” to the camera. With an insincere grin on what passes for her face, Beth interviews that being the team captain is the “suckiest position.” “I don’t want to have to bitchfight somebody in the Gauntlet,” she adds. The players get on the bus. Julie: “The thing about Beth is that we all are forced too swallow our pride and just be nice to the damn girl, because if you’re not nice to her, she’ll screw you!" Montana: “Everybody knows that Beth is a weasel. Beth had all the credibility of a late-night infomercial.” Beth interviews that she will never be friends with Montana, and that if the team loses, Montana will go to the Gauntlet with her. Sigh.

Mission site. We have a funky metal structure over water. It used to be all about the funky metal structures with this show. TJ welcomes everybody to the Port Authority for today’s mission: Balancing Act. The structure is a platform that hangs twenty feet above the water, with two tightropes going from one side to the other. The objective: get as many people across the ropes as possible. The only support the players can use is a small rope. Cut to test run footage, where two players grab the rope to keep balanced. If the players let go of the rope at any time, the turn will end. The team with the most players across receives $10,000 for the team bank account. The winning female captain also gets a $1,000 gift certificate for an online jeans site.

Jamie expositions that Alton and Landon will lead off for the Rookies, since the strategy is to have partners of equal size and weight. TJ blows his airhorn. The two guys walk slowly on the tightropes. Alton interviews that his foot started shaking, and he figures to fall already. The duo wobble and move back to the platform, hands still on the rope. Derrick interviews that he figured Alton and Landon would excel with their rock-climbing abilities, and that is not what’s happening. The guys struggle some more, and Landon playfully stomps on the platform. Mark tells us that the pair is proving how hard the mission is, since they are two of the best Rookies. Once again, the guys wobble and retreat. Alton: “Committing is the hardest part, because after you run back to the platform once, you know it exists, and you don’t want to leave it.” Eventually, the guys move far enough for TJ to tell us that they’re past the point of no return. They finally make it across, and TJ expositions that they made it across with eleven minutes and 28 seconds.

Next pair: Syrus and Mark wobbles on the ropes. Cut to Landon smirking. Mark dives on Syrus’s rope, and the big fella drops to the water, with Mark following suit. The Rookies get a good laugh, as Mark interviews they were four feet from finishing, and that he was lucky to land in the water feet-first.

Jillian & Kina. Kina stumbles back to the platform, still holding onto the rope. Timmy: “they’re like two Humpty-Dumpties up there.” The girls waver. Jillian goes back to the platform, but Kina hits the platform, flipping and going head-first into the water. Cut to Randy, not looking happy. Susie interviews that this is difficult to watch their captain not get two feet from platform.

Next up: Derrick & Katie. Guess the Veterans are matching up sizes after all. They start with their feet on the tightropes and a hand on the platform. Katie tells him to support her. They waver. Derrick pulls the rope, and Katie takes a dive. Derrick yells “DAMN!” while pounding the platform. Oh, Derrick. The day is still young. You will get more upset than this, buddy.

Next up: Cara & Susie. Cara interviews that she has incentive. “I’ve got every bit of incentive today,” she adds, “to go at it and go nuts with my best friend here, because good wins, always.” The girls waver, and Susie ends up diving, followed by Cara. Kina interviews about knowing the duo would try their best. She shouts “Good girl! Good girl!” and hugs Cara. Is everything forgiven? In an interview, Cara wonders if Kina is putting the drama behind her. She adds that she needed this to feel part of the team. Kina hugs Cara and Susie...and then Jillian sneaks up from behind to get in on it. Man...if it wasn’t for Beth, I think Jillian would be the big villain here. TJ comes in to tell us that the Rookies have one point, while the Veterans have none.

Stepping up to the plate: Robin & Julie. Julie interviews that she doesn’t want to teeter-totter like the others. The duo teeters, totters, and falls into the water. Jeremy & Jamie follow suit, as they take a bath. Montana & Aneesa try, but Aneesa gets pulled and falls off. Randy & MJ wobble and fall. TJ actually laughs at them, shouting, “Good try, guys!” Julie wishes that her team can get one Veteran across.

TJ tells us that Brad & David are up, and he figures they are the most capable to get across faster than Alton & Landon. Cut to Derrick crossing his fingers. The duo wobbles getting off platform. Katie yells that the tightropes will never be stable. Julie: “No slack!” The guys walk across in unison, but they wobble. Brad lunges back to the platform, losing the rope in the process. David rolls over him, giving us a spilt-second of homoeroticism. No rope, no points. Timmy: “You guys know you had that.” TJ tells us that Brad & David got disqualified. “They both let go of the rope,” he adds, “and they touched each other, so you can’t do that.” I’m embarrassed to say it, but that was funny. “They got spooked,” Randy grins. “You’ve got to continue going forward.” David swan-dives off the platform. “It’s just madness,” Aneesa interviews. “We’re dropping like flies.” Timmy taps Brad’s helmet, clearly looking pissed off.

TJ camera-talks some more about how Jodi & Ibis can put another point on the board for the Rookies. Both girls wobble on the tightropes. Robin looks on, thinking that they’ll make it. The girls pull on their rope. Jodi interviews that if they make it across, they can win the mission. They struggle, fall down, and don’t win the mission.

TJ informs us that it’s up to Timmy & Beth to cross under 11:38 to win. Time out. The game is on the line, you need a pair of players to excel...and Beth is up there. Who thought this was a good idea, especially after she and Julie choked at the end of Chock Full O’ Coconuts? Given how things shook out, maybe Beth decided to save herself for last. Beth camera-whispers that she can do it, and that if she can’t, she’ll be going to the Gauntlet. Timmy patiently guides Beth, getting her foot on the rope and a hand on the platform. Beth doesn’t feel steady, plopping back to the platform. The Veterans tensely look on. Montana: “Whatever happens, happens.” Syrus yells that the duo has two minutes left. Beth asks Timmy if he has her, and he has to reassure her. Syrus and Julie yell from the sidelines. Timmy: “I’m trying to coax her and nurture her and Dr. Phil her onto this damn rope and get across, because I want to win.” Beth cackles nervously. Julie: “It’s go time, Beth! It’s okay! Just try!” Girl is so crazy, she doesn’t know who she’s dealing with.

Back from commercials, Julie yells that Timmy & Beth don’t have the time to spare. Derrick: “Come on, man! Ten thousand dollars!” Derrick according to closed-captioning: “Come on, man! Take those dudes!” I just had to share that. Back to Timmy: “So Psychology 101 isn’t working out so well, and you can start to hear the peanut gallery barking at Beth. So now it’s turned into, ‘To hell with them, it’s their fault for yelling at me’.” Syrus yells that they have to go now. Beth is still not feeling secure, and she doesn’t think that she’ll make it across. Montana: “Everybody on the Veterans team is just embarrassed by the fact that Beth won’t even try.” On a website, Beth claims that she didn’t want to hurt herself before going into the Gauntlet. That’s funny...I don’t remember Kina wussing out. Perhaps Beth would have melted in the water, like the witch that she is.

Anyway...Syrus is still barking, Montana throws her arms in the air, and the Veterans team is screaming. Beth decides to just forget it. Derrick: “Timmy, just fuckin’ throw her in!” TJ counts down to zero, prompting the Rookies to celebrate and the Veterans to looked ticked off. The Rookies gather in a circle, jumping up and down. Closed-captioning: “(group grunting rhythmically)” Beth tells Timmy that she’s sorry, for whatever that’s worth. She interviews: “People are saying, ‘Ooo, Beth didn’t try, blah blah blah.’ You know what? I went out there, I stood up, I tried. So you win some, you lose some, and now I’m going to the Gauntlet.” Yeah, let’s give her a big round of applause for just getting on the rope. Timmy makes a cut-throat gesture before diving into the water.

TJ wraps up the mission. Kina gets lifted up by Landon and Alton to claim the $10,000 check for the team and the $1,000 gift certificate for herself. Seeing how she didn’t get far on the rope does she deserve it? Kina reminds us that the Rookies are on a three-game winning streak.

The van arrives at the mansion. The Veterans piles out and walk into their room for their Gauntlet Deliberation. Derrick starts by throwing a water bottle on the table. Syrus tells the women that the men gave their all. Beth tells the team to get on with the voting. “I know that I’m on the line for going into the Gauntlet,” Montana interviews. “But why can’t we send Beth against Beth to the Gauntlet? I mean, it’s just ridiculous having her on our team.”

TJ strolls in to get the decision. Beth squeals, “TJ, yaaaaaaaay!” Shut up, Beth. He asks Beth who was selected...and it’s Montana. Why? I know Montana might be seen as the weakest player after Beth, but she’s the person Beth wants. Why should Beth get what she wants, ever? Montana nods, looking okay with the decision. TJ spins the wheel. It goes past Captain’s Choice, and it seems to land on the line, right before Knock Off. Maybe the camera made it look like it landed on the line. Maybe there’s a rule saying that they can’t spin again. But TJ announces that Beth gets to choose her game, and the conspiracy talk runs wild on the forums. Of course, Beth picks Reverse Tug-Of-War. Montana still me, she’s just trying to keep hope alive.

Gauntlet. Shot of Montana walking. Beth welcomes us to the Gauntlet, calling it a “bitch fight.” She then makes a cat claw gesture with the accompanying hissing. She looks and sounds just like Kennedy on Reality Remix doing that. Just one more reason why I want her to get punched in the face. MJ: “Beth is like our seventeenth team member for us. I love Beth.” The Rookies cheer, as Randy interviews that the team has decided to make signs and treat the Gauntlet like a monster truck rally, because he feels this will be the most entertaining Gauntlet. Cut to the Rookie guys holding up “Tug Her Rug” and “D-[fence]” signs. TJ welcomes the Veterans to the Gauntlet, then calls down Beth, who gets huge applause from the Rookies. Montana comes down. TJ goes over Reverse Tug-Of-War again: flags on either end of the Gauntlet, ten feet of rope, you know the drill. TJ tells the girls that he knows they love each other, but they’ll have to try their hardest. The Rookies chant, “Tug her rope! Tug her rope!” Montana interviews that the Veterans don’t want Beth as captain anymore, and she’ll do her best. Cut to MJ holding up a sign that says “Beth! Mount Montana!” No. N-O, no.

TJ rings the bell, and both girls run, with Montana getting bounced back. Beth starts digging, as the Veterans cheer Montana. Beth keeps digging, prompting one guy to yell that there’s no treasure in the sand. Landon chats “Tug her rug,” and I still have no clue what that’s about. Beth gets herself an advantage. Derrick cheers for Montana, while Robin and Syrus shout for Beth. I hope they were paid to do that, because there is no excuse for that. Beth keeps lunging forward. Derrick buries his face in his hands. And sure enough...Beth gets the flag. Lucky bitch. Of course, the Rookies love it, while the Veterans pity-clap. Both players catch their breath in the sand.

Beth is up now. Robin quips that she thought Beth was climbing stairs. “Thanks,” Beth mutters, “even though I’m sure you wanted Montana to win.” Derrick: “I did want Montana to win, definitely. You’re the meanest person I fucking know!” The music gets dramatic, and we get a slow-motion shot of Beth look very indignant. The Veterans sort of chide Derrick for saying what they all were thinking.

Denouement. Beth shakes Montana’s hand, telling her she did a good job. Montana probably wonders whether she should punch Beth in the face. TJ congratulates Beth for her lucky, lucky win, then he gives Montana twenty minutes to pack up and leave. Aneesa: “Beth basically just [switching to fake soft voice], ‘I’m baaaaaack,’ and we’re like, ‘[long bleep].’ We gotta congratulate her now. We gotta kiss her ass so she doesn’t throw a mission. In the end, Beth is just Beeetttttth.” Brad tells Beth to let it go. Beth: “Asshole.” Derrick: “Bitch.” Your team captains, ladies and gentlemen!

Montana washes herself on the beach. She interviews that there was no way she could pull Beth due to her twenty-pound advantage. “It just goes to show you,” she continues, “good doesn’t always win over evil.” Now let’s see what the hag with no manners has to say. “Montana, I’m so sad that I had to kick your ass,” she smirks at the camera. “And if people fuck with me, I just might fuck with their game. Buh-bye!” She punctuates this with some more cackling. How does she not get her fat ass kicked in real life? Honestly, I would’ve guessed that some fan would have stopped her by now and thrown a sucker punch or two. Not like she doesn’t deserve it. It doesn’t matter if she feels like she’s playing a character...she’s still a bitch.

On a slightly happier note, the Rookies gather in their quarters. Alton asks the team if they feel good about the past week. Jamie interviews that this has been like high school with the emotional drama, and that it’s important to maintain a solid unity that cannot be jeopardized by unfounded rumors. Alton asks Cara if she feels confident. Cara says she liked Kina telling her and Susie that they did a great job. Kina interviews that she still doesn’t trust Susie and Cara. “Whatever,” she continues. “We have three more girl Gauntlets left, and I obviously know who I’ll pick.” I just want all of them to outlast Beth.

Farewells. Montana gets hugs and a group picture with a few guys. Montana shows off her a bruise she got in the Gauntlet. “I’m sad I lost to Beth,” she interviews, “but I don’t think any woman on our team can beat Beth in the Reverse Tug-Of-War. Cut to her going down the stairs with her bag. “All of the emotion over the last two weeks just kind of comes together into one moment [laughing] of loss and failure.” Timmy gives Montana a hug, as Beth watches from the balcony. She probably knows that the only way anybody would carry her luggage is if she’s in it. Timmy says that he’s sad to see Montana go, but he’s happy she was there.

Did somebody ask for a sore winner? “It definitely feels like I’m getting my revenge on Montana for being so evil to me. You know what, Montana? Karma’s a bitch, and you got yours.” That isn’t karma. Karma would be Coral coming in to make Beth cry and smothering her with the double-Ds. Karma would be Tonya baptizing Beth’s clothes and face in the pool. Karma would be Derrick going Code Red on Beth in the middle of the night, or Julie snapping and putting her in a chokehold. After watching Beth act like a bigger bitch and then reading her brag about her fluke victory? She can go fuck herself, because nobody else will.

Next time: Alton and Jodi get closer to each other. The mission is Buck-a-Neer...think mechanical bull riding, except that one team gets on the device, and another controls the bucking. Robin and Katie start fighting, and Timmy calls them idiots. By the way, tune in to The After Show on to see a meaner, nastier Timmy sound off on the cast. Awesome stuff all around.

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