Saturday, March 25, 2006

Gauntlet 2, Episode 16: Penultimate Pitfall

Previously on Gauntlet 2: The Veterans snapped a two-game losing streak by winning Blind Trust, narrowing the gap to $80,000-60,000. Derrick interviewed that he has to worry about his own butt for the final Gauntlet. In an unaired and rather cute scene, the Veteran girls bounced on a bed, thrilled that they’re staying for the final mission. Elsewhere, Kina had a massive hissy fit in the ladies’ room. She managed to pull it together to defeat Jillian in the Gauntlet. Kina told us that she hoped to get her boyfriend Randy through the next mission, and that she feels blessed. She’s probably the only one at this point.

Mansion. Balcony. Kina asks Alton if Randy would be the next to go in case the Rookies lose the next mission. Alton doesn’t know, and he asks Kina whom she would choose. Kina thinks Alton would choose Randy because of his body type. “Think about a three-mile run,” Alton wonders out loud, “where we have to hoist him over a wall.” Come on, it’s not like Randy shares diet advice with Donell. Alton adds that if the Rookies win, there won’t be any worries. Alton interviews that Randy would be sent to the Gauntlet because “he’s the chunkiest guy on our team. As strong as a tank, be he’s as big as one also.” Harsh.

Kina tells Ibis that general consensus is on Randy. Ibis is honestly shocked. “Do they think that you only need jocks at the end of the day?” she asks Kina. “I don’t understand that.” I have to remind myself: Ibis is kinda hot, and Kina’s the one I need to mock. Kina thinks that judging by body types is stupid. Ibis: “He brilliant.” Oh, Ibis. Randy comes in to greet the ladies, as tension lingers in the air.

Meanwhile, the Veteran girls are in the kitchen. Katie tells us that the guys are nervou about the upcoming Gauntlet, so the ladies will be making cookies. Aneesa has trouble operating the oven, and Robin pokes fun at her. “At least I know my left from my right,” Aneesa jabs back. See, when she says that, it’s funny. When TJ tried to joke about it, he came off as a dope. Julie interviews that it is essential for the team to remain intact.

Randy and Kina hang out as night falls. Randy is okay with the current situation, not being worried about the money as long as he’s there with her. “Everyone who has been sent home had their chance to fight it out,” he interviews as we see him get Kina in a hug, “and it’s been a fair, crazy game and I’m glad the Rookies played it like they did.” See, Kina? Randy doesn’t cry at the thought of going home or making tough decisions. You can learn something from your stoner boyfriend. Anyway, she kisses him and cuddles in his lap. Lots of love. Whatever.

On a less stressful note, the Veteran girls come into the boys’ room with fresh cookies. “You know what I taste?” Timmy quips. “I taste love.” Awwwwwww. He gets kisses from Robin and Julie for being such a cornball.

The players have dinner as the phone rings. Timmy reaches for it and “accidently” falls down. He reminds us that there is one more mission before the finale, and he would go to the Gauntlet if the Veterans lose the mission. “Hey, Challengers,” he reads off the phone. “I hope you brought your ice skates.” Cut to Ibis with a face that says “huh?!?” Timmy admits that he’s just kidding, and Ibis smiles in relief. Honestly, Timmy is nowhere near as bad as BJ and Tyler on The Amazing Race. The real clue: “Don’t let things come apart.” Blah blah blah, Canoe Bay at 9:30 a.m.

Captain’s Quarters. Derrick tells the Veterans that this is the time to find out who wants to be here at the end. Timmy adds that the team doesn’t deserve to send Derrick back to the Gauntlet. He adds, “The team feels really strong without Bad Beth and Beyond.” Everybody laughs, because bashing Beth never gets old. Mark interviews that there is nothing he’d like to do than save Derrick. “I’m gonna do everything in my power,” he continues, “to keep that kid here and not send him back to that pirate-filled sandbox.” That’s the best description of the Gauntlet yet.

New day. It’s raining, judging by the lightning bolts. Both teams are gathered as TJ ride in on a bicycle. Alton interviews that this is the day of reckoning, where they find out who will be the strong team going into the final mission. Today’s mission: Piece by Piece. TJ shows off his fancy signature bike. The mission objective: take the bike apart, reassemble it, and race it. Each team will be divided into assemblers and dissassemblers. When TJ blows his airhorn, the dissassemblers will race out to their respective bicycles and take them apart using the tools provided. The teams will have walkie-talkies to keep the assemblers in the loop. The assemblers will put the bike back together, and the captains ride the bikes to the start. If the bike is put together improperly, or if there are missing pieces, the captain has to take it back to get it fixed. The winning team gets $10,000 for the bank account, and the male captain gets a bike of his own. Ibis interviews that her team is excited and nervous even with the girls being safe, since they need all of their men for the final mission.

Strategy sessions. Derrick asks if anybody can assemble a bicycle. Robin admits not know how, but she is willing to do whatever he wants. Derrick interviews that he is not looking forward to a fifth Gauntlet, and he hopes that his team can pull it off. On the Rookies’ side, Randy tells us that he and Jamie used to work on bikes, so his team has the edge. Kina figures that the girls don’t know anything about bicycles, and she thinks Randy will shine to become the team’s MVP.

TJ blows his airhorn to get the mission started. Disassembling for the Rookies: Landon, MJ, Susie, Kina and Jodi. For the Veterans: Robin, Mark, David and Katie. Derrick sees David jogging out to the bike, and this does not make him happy. “This is my Gauntlet,” Derrick interviews, “and maybe you don’t think that your ass in on the line, but mine is.” Both sides reach their respective bikes. Alton uses a walkie-talkie to talk with his group of dissassemblers, annoying them in the process. Kina interviews that Alton is going crazy, which is the last thing they need. Alton keeps talking. Landon: “Alton, please be quiet!” Alton relents for the moment, chuckling at his own overeagerness.

Super-fast motion disassembling footage. Background music: “I’m gonna make you mine / Tearing you apart makes me feel alive / I’m gonna use you.” Hey, I think I have a new theme song! Alton is still on the walkie-talkie, exasperating his teammates. Veterans disassemble. Rookies go over the parts with TJ, and he clears them to run back to the start. Landon rushes over, slamming on the brakes and actually skidding on the grass for at least ten feet. Robin looks amused, Derrick looks troubled, and Timmy sputters. The Rookie assemblers (Alton, Jamie, Randy, Ibis) run out as we head to commercials.

As I’m flipping around, I see a Gauntlet with Derrick. I know he was in there, thanks to MTV’s spoiler commercials. But now I see him in Reverse Tug-Of-War with Timmy. Yep, MTV just had to make a push for some kind of sweepstakes, and they ruined the last Gauntlet in the process. Thanks, guys!

The Veterans fumble around in their disassembling. Landon tells us that the best Rookies are on assembly detail. TJ clears the Veterans, and they run back to the start. Derrick yells for David to hustle. The assemblers (Derrick, Julie, Robin, Aneesa, Timmy) tag in. Julie interviews about the assorted parts, the rain making everything slippery, and she doesn’t know where to begin. Mark instructs the assemblers on the walkie-talkie, telling them to use the chart in front of them as a reference. Randy tells us that he feels important to his team for the first time in a while, and his experience will pay off.

Alton inspects the bike. Kina happily watches from the start. The Veteran assemblers keep working, as Mark looks at a sample bike to guide his teammates. The Rookies finish up, and Alton slowly pedals to the start. Julie interviews that she hopes the Rookies made a mistake. Veterans keep working, Rookies on both sides get happy. TJ looks over the bike, then blows the airhorn to end the game. Cue the huge celebration, with Randy hollering, “NOBODY’S GOING HOME!” I am not about to hate the lug just because he has poor taste in women. Alton is happy that he made it from Royal Rumble to the final mission (the only captain to pull that off), and now he’s one step closer to $150,000, while the Veterans have to lose a guy. More celebrating. Timmy admits the Rookies disassembled and assembled their bike faster. Derrick glumly reminds us that he’s going back to the Gauntlet.

Denouement. TJ congratulates the Rookies, and he gives Alton the prize bicycle and $10,000. Oh, and he calls Alton “homie” and jokes about his bike-riding prowess. Shut up, TJ. Anyway, this gives the Rookies $90,000 total, better than the Veterans’ $60,000. TJ decides to call Randy “the VIP today.” Huh? Did Kina ask TJ to call him that? Randy interviews that he’s relieved to have been instrumental to the win. He adds that he and Kina do not have to go to a Gauntlet again. TJ tells the Veterans that he’ll see them back at “the crib.” TJ Lavin: worst host ever. I dare you to tell me different.

Veterans’ Gauntlet Deliberation. Timmy can’t believe they’re back here, but they’re still a team no matter what they do. Derrick says that nobody can knock anybody else for today, as far as taking apart or putting a bike together is concerned. He does briefly bring up sprinting to the bike, and he asks the team to make the right choice. As Derrick hands out paper for voting, Timmy tells them that they don’t need it, telling the team to write his name down. Is this regret from missing the Gauntlet two weeks ago? Derrick notes that they’ve voted like this since the first meeting, which he vehemently opposed at the time. Timmy brings up how Ace volunteered himself. Derrick tells him to write his own name down. Timmy interviews that he’s willing to go, but that isn’t how some people want it. Derrick tells us that he is voting for David out of his lack of hustle and respect. Julie interviews that nobody is voting for “Mark the Veteran warrior,” and it’s down to Timmy and David as to who is stronger. Derrick announces another vote, since Timmy and David are tied, and two people didn’t vote.

After commercials, a mild hullabaloo rises on who didn’t vote. Derrick says it doesn’t matter, interviews that it’s hard for some people to vote for David because they are friends with him. Katie admits to us that she and Aneesa didn’t vote. “If I vote for David,” she interviews, “I’m basically stabbing him in the back.” David asks Derrick if he wants to face him in the Gauntlet, taking his shirt off while saying it. Derrick replies that he doesn’t want to do that, but he thought that David respected him. David bitches that the mission wasn’t about sprinting. Derrick mutters about how the mission was about working hard. “Do you understand how dumb Derrick is?” David interviews. “I mean, I’m twice as strong as him. I would eat him for breakfast. I don’t think he makes decisions good under pressure like that. He goes crazy. And I was just like, ‘If you send me, I’ll send you home today’.” Wow...David thinks the world of himself. Twice as strong? How would David be any tougher an opponent than anybody else Derrick has faced?

Derrick counts the votes again, and guess what? Another tie. Looks like Aneesa voted for David while Katie was trying to save him. Derrick interviews that he’s worked so hard, and he isn’t going to let David slide. He asks the team want they want for the final mission. He tells David that he didn’t appreciate the jogging. David asks him to consider the entire mission. As Aneesa hides her face, Derrick still wants to know what the team thinks. Julie suggests that the captain should choose, since she doesn’t want to tell David that she voted for him. David: “Is she shitting me?!?” Shut up, David. Damn, now I’m on Julie’s side. Nothing makes sense anymore. The team bickers and looks exhausted, while David shouts “get outta here!” a few times like the punk that he is. Bicker, bicker, bicker.

Mark steps up, telling the players they have to compete as a team, and they don’t need this division one day before the final mission. Timmy wants everybody to shut up. Julie interviews that everybody is upset, nobody is getting along, and Derrick needs to step up as captain to make a decision. Fasten your seat belts...we’re in for a wild time.

Derrick stands up, trying to catch his breath. Timmy implores Derrick to send him to the Gauntlet, asking if he would rather face him or David in Beach Brawl. Timmy tells Derrick to look out for himself. Derrick swats at something on the ceiling. He kicks the table lightly. “What am I supposed to do?” Light kick. “My conscience says David, but [Timmy] wants to step up, you know? That’s what I’m getting, that’s what I’m getting.” Kick. “What the fuck do I do? It’s not that easy! And I wish my teammates would have made a fucking decision for me!” And with that, he kicks a leg right off the table. Is Derrick being a child for throwing a tantrum? Maybe. Is he justified for being angry? Perhaps. Is this one of the most awesome moments in this show’s long history? Oh, yeah. Derrick interviews that he doesn’t want to be the one choose what’s best for the best. He curses out loud, scaring the hell out of Robin. “I gave my heart out in every challenge and every Gauntlet. Damn, all I wanted was one win today! Just one!” He stomps on the table, effectively killing it.

TJ picks this moment to come in to get the team’s choice. Derrick asks who wants to go, giving the table a few more kicks. Timmy looks willing to keep the peace, as he steps up to volunteer, making this the most painful endgame since Rachel had to face Sarah in Telluride. TJ asks Derrick to spin the wheel, since he doesn’t feel right in deciding the captain’s destiny. Derrick gives an angry spin, and the wheel lands on Reverse Tug-Of-War. I think Derrick might have quit if it wound up on Captain’s Choice. He celebrates by kicking another leg off the table, while TJ gets the heck out of Dodge, wishing both combatants luck. Shots of exhausted Veterans. Timmy: “This team is falling apart like frickin’ Legos. If I go home, it’s honestly not going to bother me. As a matter of fact, it’s probably best that I do go home, because I don’t believe in this team right now. There’s so much diversity. You can’t compete this way, especially going into the finals.” David bitches about how he hopes Timmy wins to send Derrick home. In my mind, David is as big a punk as his boy CT. Shut up, David.

Gauntlet. Shots of Derrick and Timmy get mixed with the sand pit. TJ welcomes everybody to the final Gauntlet. The Rookies cheer, and they are a happy bunch. TJ calls down Derrick, as the Rookies cheer for him. TJ calls Derrick “the most decorated Gauntlet champion there is.” Damn, it’s like BMP has decided to ignore Sarah’s reign as Queen of the Gauntlet completely. Derrick announces that Timmy volunteered, and the elder Veteran hops down. TJ doesn’t even bother with the specifics of Reverse Tug-Of-War. “Derrick has so much heart,” Mark interviews. “He’s the guy that went against a monster every time and slayed the monster.” Flashback time! Derrick comes out to upset Adam in Name That Coconut. He outwrestles Ace in Beach Brawl. He flips the far heavier Syrus over, and he beats Brad in the Gauntlet. Mark: “This kid just doesn’t want to lose. Am I surprised that he took out half of our team? Absolutely not.”

TJ gets the players ready. Derrick tells us that he’ll give it his best shot. Timmy: “This is a horrible situation to be in. Either I win and send home someone who’s got the biggest heart of any competitor here, or I lose and let a very deserving man go to the finals. It’s definitely twisting my brain.” TJ rings the bell. Both players run in opposite directions...and this is where we’ll stop. Stinkin’ BMP.

Next time: It’s all over. Derrick: “I’m praying that I don’t lose.” David screams for Timmy. Derrick struggles in the sand. And he see the final mission, which involves coins, betting, and Kina screaming that her team won. Will she finally get her diapers changed? Can Derrick go 5-0 in the Gauntlet? Did Jo successfully sue Trinidad & Tobago? We’ll find out in the final episode, as well as the reunion special, which airs right after the finale. One hour of wall-to-wall drama awaits us this Monday.

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