Saturday, March 25, 2017

The Gauntlet Episode 4: Mud & Guts

Not much to say about this episode, to be honest. A funny thing is that when I copy my recaps from, the pictures don't usually come up. In this case, we have Trishelle with her busted face. I swear, I don't have it out for her today, even though I really wasn't a fan of hers. This season, The Inferno, Battle Of The Seasons, and Rivals II, where she bailed on Sarah Rice. And around the time this episode aired, it was announced that she had been cast for the second season of The Surreal Life. Did not like her there, either, though nobody deserves to be savaged by friggin' Sally Jesse Raphael. My dislike for her is a story in of itself, and I don't feel like talking about it now. Oh, and Trishelle was in William Hung's video for "She Bangs." So sad. So sad.

Also, the World Series was happening around this time. That was the one where the Yankees, exhausted by their epic seven-game series against the Red Sox, got trampled by the Florida Marlins. That wouldn't play out yet. As a Mets fan, I wasn't that happy. Then again, Mets fans are seldom happy.

Airdate: October 13, 2003
Recap Published: October 21, 2003

The players get dirty in the mud, Trishelle gets banged up before the mission, and an injured player faces elimination in the Gauntlet.
By the time you read this, the World Series is now under way. It promises to be a wonderful World Series this year... unless you’re a Mets fan like me, then you can only hope for the ticker-tape parade gets delayed by a week’s worth of rain. Yes, being a Mets fan in October is much like being the Grinch, frowning down upon all the happy residents of Whoville. And the only way my heart will grow two sizes too big is if Mets management makes some good moves. Or if I eat myself into a mild coma.

Previously on The Gauntlet: each team won a challenge and $10,000 for their banks. Katie was inexplicably voted into the Gauntlet and she did not take it well. She managed to stay on, defeating Montana in Ride ‘Em Cowboy, living to invoke her Tragic White Girl Head Bob in Veronica’s direction. “She thinks that she’s not going to get sent to the Gauntlet,” Veronica interviews, “she’s got another thing coming to her.” Don’t you have roommates to rip off, Veronica?

Credits. It’s worse than last week, since Montana and David share the same space. I try to put some positive voiceovers in there. Montana: “Hey! Don’t worry about us! Me and David, we’re having a party in here!” David: “Yeah, please don’t tell Matt. If he finds out we’re drinking virgin margaritas, he’ll never leave!”

Awesome shot of Telluride, in the valley of the mountains. Katie is hanging with Trishelle and Nathan. He’s still wearing the same dot-com shirt from previous episodes. Very sad. He wonders what the next challenge will be. Katie figures that it’ll be something extreme, and she’ll end up in the Gauntlet again, since she hates her team as much as they hate her. She interviews that she doesn’t think the voting is fair. “I try to remember it’s a game,” she says, “instead of taking everything so personally.” Yeah, good luck with that. She tells Nathan that she’s not used to people not liking her, but she’ll remain fierce in competition. Trishelle interviews that Road Rules is sabotaging themselves with their dishonesty. Katie rants some more. Then Nathan plans on going mountain biking.

Country shots. Trishelle interviews this is her first time on a mountain bike. Cue the tense music, and a really, really lame black-and-white shot of a bike rolling by itself. Norman is on the cell, with Matt nearby. The news? Trishelle fell from her bike, going over the handlebars. Norman on the phone: “Then she needs to go to a medical place.” I don’t know what’s funnier: Norman using that term or Matt nodding as if to say, “Yeah, I’ve heard of those.”

Emergency sign. Some of the players enter the room. Trishelle’s face is banged up. She says that she went too fast, pressed the forward brake, and went over the bike, rolling down the hill in the process. Katie takes a picture. Trishelle says she’ll be back tonight and the others leave. Mike stays behind, hugging her. “I definitely saw a side that I never seen of Trishelle,” he interviews. “I believe that she has the biggest heart I’ve ever seen out of a girl.” Mike, did Tara mean nothing to you? Trishelle interviews that she’s thankful to be on a team with Mike. He asks if she has scratches on her chest. Such a smooth operator, isn’t he? She laughs, “I do, and you’re not touching them!” [Editor’s Note: FYI, it was just announced that Trishelle will be on the second edition of The Surreal Life.]

Sunset. Nighttime at the mansion. Veronica and Matt read off the clues on the sponsor phone: challenge tomorrow at 9 a.m., wear bathing suits and sandals with team colors. Adam: “I have a feeling we’re either going to get messy or wet.” Trishelle interviews that she feels fine, but she admits to others that she has a concussion. She adds, “I’m not gonna let something like this affect my ability to compete at missions.”

New day. New site. Jonny welcomes everybody to Mudbath, a last-man-standing challenge. The objective: secure giant balls from the mud pit to the safety zone. The catch: there will always be three less balls than players, and the three players who don’t have balls at the end of the round are eliminated. Like in basketball, the ball can be stolen, without intentional physical contact. Theo V. drawls what Jonny just said in his interview, but he adds “save your soul.” Hey, that’s Matt’s department. Last person standing gets $10,000 for the team bank. Tina expositions that her team has a two-person advantage.

Both teams talk strategy. Alton interviews that RW has to win for the sake of morale. Trishelle meets with Emil, the on-site EMT. He tells her that she could exasperate the concussion, even though she’s not worried about it. Norman expositions that RW is now down by three players, since Trishelle is sidelined, and they have to go in twice as hard. Theo V. urges his team to “go nuts,” thinking that speed and strength will win it. Adam figures that RR has momentum since winning a challenge and two Gauntlets. Jonny gets everybody ready on his megaphone. Matt: “Any time you put mud and balls together, it’s gonna get dirty!”

After the commercials, Jonny blows his airhorn. There’s running, grabbing, and rolling. As the mud clears, Katie looks around as teammate Rachel R. rolls her ball back to the safety zone. Airhorn. Eliminated: Katie, Cara, Coral. “I am very nervous at this point,” Katie voiceovers. “I’m assuming right now that I am at risk for getting voted into the Gauntlet again.”

Round Two. A graphic shows that Road Rules is up 12-10, player-wise. Nathan: “We are looking to knock teeth out.” Theo V.: “It’s all about putting the pain on somebody else.” Airhorn. Scramble. Abram knocks Mike down. Elka staggers to her feet. Norman tackles Abram from behind, and Mike gets control of his ball. Airhorn. Eliminated: Abram, Elka, Norman. Jonny tells Abram he was out for tackling. Abram interviews that he didn’t mean to wrestle Mike. Darrell expositions that Norman was disqualified for his tackle.

Round Three. Road Rules leads, 11-8. Airhorn. Scramble. Sarah and Tonya wrestle for a ball. Tonya elbows Sarah, knocking her down. But Dave comes in, controlling his own ball, and stops Tonya’s ball, making her fall in the process. Like he’s been doing this for years. As Tonya chases after Dave, Sarah rolls on to safety. Irulan makes a run at Dave, but fails. Cut to another battle: Veronica vs. Rachel B. Soon, Tonya and Irulan join the scrum, as Rachel sits down, obviously overmatched. Alton jumps up and down, cheering Irulan on as she manages to pull the ball away, staying in the game. Irulan: “I don’t think that anybody has any clue about how much we will go balls-out to win this money. We are animals!” Eliminated: Tonya, Rachel B., Veronica.

Tonya interviews that after she was called out, she noticed her knee was swollen. As Rachel B. gets her knee examined, Alton expositions that Elka got her knees scraped, and Matt got cut above his eye. The others tell Matt his wound makes him look tough, and he smiles.

The players get ready. “When there’s money at stake,” Adam interviews, “you don’t want to play musical chairs. You don’t want to play Parcheesi. There are gnarly challenges.” Airhorn. Road Rules leads, 10-6. Scramble. Eliminated: Steve, Theo G., Tina.

Round Five. Road Rules up, 8-5. Airhorn. Scramble. Three RR girls are left running in the middle, which pumps RW up. Eliminated: Rachel R., Roni, Sarah. I’ve never seen Matt this excited before. “ Real World’s gonna take this all the way!” he interviews. “We’re tough, we got blood, we got mud, we got guts, and we’ll take this all the way to ten G’s!” Looks like somebody got an adrenaline rush. On the other side, Theo V. tells the team to go man-to-man, adding, “we got the numbers, let’s put this away.”

Round Six. Tied 5-5. Adam takes a headstart before the horn, and Coral calls him on it. Jonny orders him to the penalty box after the scramble. Eliminated: Adam, Nathan (making a severe Popeye face), and Irulan.

Round Seven. Road Rules up, 4-3. Airhorn. Scramble. One guy falls right away. Alton takes Darrell out from behind, grabbing and bouncing off the ball. Meanwhile, Mike almost takes Laterrian out. Darrell confirms that Alton was cheating. “They can cheat all they want,” he adds. “They’re still not gonna keep my hands off that ball.” Alton gets ordered into the penalty box. Eliminated: Alton, Mike, Theo V.

Jonny announces the remaining people: Matt from RW; Laterrian, Darrell, and Dave from RR. Matt voiceovers that it’s do-or-die time, as he genuflects. I normally frown on that, but given the odds, I don’t blame him.

Airhorn. The RRs get the balls first and Matt has no chance. He comes close to pulling Laterrian’s shorts down. Game over. Road Rules wins Mudbath. I keep hearing a chorus of “Hoo-Rah!” off-camera. The RWs praise for his performance. Heck, even Coral looks happy for him.

Jonny awards the $10,000 check to Road Rules. Alton has a perfect handprint on his face. Darrell, Dave and Laterrian accept the check, boosting their bank to $20,000. Jonny instructs both sides to figure out who will go to the Gauntlet.

Mansion. Turns out Elka has an infection. Whether it’s from Mudbath or Snake Soup is not revealed. Tonya hobbles in on crutches, wearing a knee brace. She tells the others she tore her meniscus and she starts rehab tomorrow. Elka interviews that the team is demoralized enough after the loss and they’re feeling low.

RW Meeting. Coral holds the floor, since she has what appears to be Mike’s wrestling belt. She asks who can go to the Gauntlet at this point, then volunteers herself. Irulan wields the belt, saying she and Alton are ready if they’re needed. Matt interviews about how it’s easy to volunteer when you know you’re not going anywhere. He tells the team he wants to stay.

Tonya speaks up that injured people shouldn’t be sent to the Gauntlet, citing herself and Norman. Yeah, BMP figured that Norman nearly freezing to death two episodes ago wasn’t important enough to show. Thank goodness for cast recaps. Nathan feels that Tonya is a top player, but she might hurt the team as the challenges become physically demanding. Remember, Nathan was on the first Challenge, where teammate Beth hurt her ankle and she became a liability throughout the season. He adds that they need healthy players, and she has the worst injury. Tonya says the team knows what she’s capable of doing. Theo G. comes out of exile, interviewing that everybody started to look at her differently. Irulan asks why Tonya would compete with a torn meniscus. Nathan interviews about how she told the others it was torn, but decided it wasn’t at the meeting. “I have not performed poorly!” Tonya tells the others. “And who’s to say I will later?” Matt: “It’s a battle of politics, personality and ego in that voting room. We’re going to have a crap team when this is over.” He’s learned so much from David, hasn’t he? Coral shouts that the strategy isn’t working, and they’ve been there for an hour.

After commercials, each Real World player tells us their vote in a confession.

Nathan: Tonya
Norman: himself, “Big Norm.”
Trishelle: Tonya
Mike: Tonya
Alton: Coral
Matt: Coral. “She’s not done well on two missions.” I count three myself.
Rachel B.: Tonya, adding that it’ll be hard for her to sleep tonight.
Irulan: Herself. What kills me is that her head is low in the frame, and it doesn’t occur to anybody to adjust it right away.
Coral: Herself
Elka: Irulan
Alton: Tonya
Tonya: She doesn’t feel the competition has been fair, so she picks a strong player in Alton.

While you armchair ballot counters figure out who’s going, we’ll move to the RR meeting. Katie interviews that she doesn’t want to go back into the Gauntlet. She apologizes to her team for being “overly rude” and she wants to stay in the game. “They need to back off for a while,” she interviews, “stop putting my name on the damn vote.” Rachel R. interviews that it was necessary for Katie to apologize, but she doubts the sincerity. On the other hand, Tina believes Katie was sincere, but she’s not sure if the others buy it.

Abram reveals the finalists: himself, Steve, and Katie. She rolls her eyes. Adam decides to give Katie a bye, adding, “I think out of all the guys, that Steve’s the weakest.” I do believe Adam makes him back on my list with that comment. Adam reads off the votes. Veronica interviews that the group shouldn’t believe that the strongest team members are male. Adam reads some more votes. The results: Abram with 23 votes, Katie with 27... and Steve with 32. Damn. See, this is why you can’t get emotionally attached to these people. When you get to like one of them, and that person comes into the line of fire, you start to feel it. Steve takes the news way better than me, even as he thinks Katie should go before him. You and me both.

Gauntlet. Jonny welcomes everybody, then introduces Tonya. Her teammates break out green noisemakers. Steve is introduced, to his team’s cheers. He’s wearing a headband with “Rozelle” scrawled on it. That’s like when I went to Comic Con International this year and I saw people dressed as Ghostbusters. I kept wondering if it was the mid-‘80s and nobody had told me. Since his team won Mudbath, Steve gets to roll the die. It comes up Perfect Fit. Jonny: “You may be asking yourselves right now, what is the Perfect Fit?” My foot and Katie’s butt? No, Jonny says it’s a puzzle. Cue Steve’s enthusiasm: “If it’s a puzzle thing, I’m the man to do it. I know I’m better at it than virtually anyone here.” Jonny explains that the puzzle pieces are floating in the pool, and the players have to retrieve them, then arrange them correctly on a board. Tonya interviews that her team let her down, but she’s physically capable.

Airhorn. Both players get into the pool. Steve throws his pieces out of the pool. Tonya has a slightly less bulky knee brace. Steve gets out of the water, assembling his puzzle, followed by Tonya. It looks like there are more pieces than needed, in order to throw off the competitors. More assembling. Coral yells that Steve has pieces still on the ground. Tonya smiles, saying she’s so close. But Steve slams the final piece in, keeping himself in the game.

Happy ska music plays as the RR team mobs Steve (including Santa Theo). “I think the bitterness from me is less than everyone else,” he interviews. “ I’m happy to go back and prove every single person wrong that voted me off. I’m happy that I’m part of a group.” To review: Sarah? Will laugh at herself for being an underachiever. Steve? Will be happy to prove people wrong. Katie? Will throw a massive fit if anybody so much as looks at her in a bad way. Guess which two of those three I like?

Meanwhile, Tonya’s standing over her puzzle, ready to cry. Dang, another good person bites the dust. I can barely remember her being the whipping girl on RW: Chicago. Her teammates console her. Coral interviews that RW has lost three people. One more, and BMP will send Rupert in to fix things. “We need to band,” Coral adds. “We need to buck up there.”

Jonny announces that Steve won the Gauntlet. Theo V. comments that the win was necessary to keep up the momentum. Cara figures that Steve’s victory keeps him off the hook. Jonny verifies that Tonya is going home. Mike interviews, “I just keep on feeling every time one of our teammates loses, we’re doing something wrong. I don’t know what it is, but we need to find the right path.”

Jonny asks Tonya if she has anything to say before departing. She wishes RW luck and hopes they pick the right people for the Gauntlet. Not likely. Remember her “vote off the lowest score” speech last season? “I felt really betrayed,” she interviews, “because physically, I had done so well, and the last thing I thought was that I was going home.” She gets hugged by Mike and Rachel B. “I really wanted to be here. I wanted this. I wanted to win.” Why can’t somebody I hate leave? Last season, I laughed as Julie, David E., and Beth were voted off in the first two weeks.

Next week – Jonny: “This challenge is just a good ol’-fashioned ice cream eating contest.” How ol’-fashioned? Try having players eat the stuff with hands behind their backs, occasionally puking it back up. RW meeting: Matt thinks that if a girl should be sent to the Gauntlet, it should be Elka, on account of her injured knee. Cut to Coral: “I know we have a $10,000 check on the wall. I could’ve sworn it was Elka that got it for us.” Looks like Matt’s back on her list.

 This was the last we would see of Tonya. Well, the sane Tonya from this season and Battle Of The Sexes. When she returned in Battle Of The Sexes 2, she was as unhinged like in Real World: Chicago. Once again, I hope her life is good right now. She deserved better than the treatment from the "mean girls" in Inferno II. Or being allegedly violated in her sleep during The Ruins. I have to say "allegedly," but I can totally see those scumbags Evan and Kenny doing that. And if she pointed a finger at Johnny, I would not have been surprised.

I think if you see the celebration of Steve's win, you can see vultures in the background, rubbing their wings together in anticipation.

Heh . . . "medical place." I know Norman wasn't trying to be funny, but that was a great moment.