Friday, May 12, 2017

The Gauntlet Episode 9: Wild Blue Yonder

I'd talk about the fallout of Invasion Of The Champions, but I'm thinking of saving that for a separate post, what with that ending and Champs vs. Pros starting up, the clusterfuck that is Survivor: Game Changers, and The Amazing Race trying to stay afloat. Short story: I'm happy CT got his second win, saddened that Nicole came in third, and appalled that Ashley won six figures, because she sucks. I mean, there are worse women in the BMP stable, but she just irks me a lot.

Airdate: November 17, 2003

Recap Published: November 22, 2003 (hey, I was writing faster! Way to go, 2003 version of Jason!!)
The players fight in the air and on the ground. While Real World argues over who to sacrifice to the Gauntlet, Road Rules sends in a familiar face.
Previously on The Gauntlet: Trishelle and Mike became a couple. “If either one of us had to vote the other off,” she interviewed, “we would do it.” Please print this recap out and circle that quote in red ink, since we’ll be getting back to that. Road Rules won Sink My Ship, boosting their bank to $50,000. Mike voted for Elka, feeling she ran out of steam after winning the first mission. In the Gauntlet, Cara lucked out, as Elka knocked herself out of the game. Elka felt that Mike was biased with his vote, questioning whether his relationship with Trishelle was getting to him. That didn’t doesn’t explain the other people voting for you, though.

Credits. For some odd reason, the graphics and names are gone. “Rock Star” still plays, so it’s mostly good.

Night. Mike tells Coral he loves killing Road Rules, but they’re killing Real World this time. He brings her up, saying she has to do well in the next missions. Coral interviews that she knows she’s going back to the Gauntlet, since friendships are not involved. Quick flashback to Mike voting for her and her blubbering to him afterwards. “For Mike, winning is more important than loyalty to your friends,” she interviews. “But I think loyalty to your friends is the best way.” Coral brings up Elka getting put in the Gauntlet over Trishelle. Mike figures that Elka hadn’t done as well as the others. “Mike and Trishelle have formed a hybrid person,” Coral gripes, as we see the couple share a friendly moment. “I just woke up one morning and they were Siamese twins. It’s just [bleeping] sickening, and you have to see them glued to each other the entire time.” Sounds like somebody is bitter. Then again, if I had to spend time near the dreaded Mizhelle creature, I’d be cranky as well. Mike interviews that he’s going for the weakest links and he would send Coral out again.

Sunrise. Montrose Airport. Military drums play in the background as the players assemble. The camera pans up on Jonny, wearing jeans, a white t-shirt, shades and dogtags. Adam feels like he’s in a dream. Jonny welcomes everybody to Red Baron. If the graphic is to be believed, it’s “Red Barron.” I guess it must be Drunken Interns Week at BMP. Either that, or Mike is handling graphics. Anyway, the object is for the players to shoot each other down in the shortest amount of time. “I will be flying a plane today?” Adam asks, ready to burst. Jonny confirms it and Adam is ecstatic. In short, his breath has been taken away. Rachel B. looks a bit squeamish. Abram interviews, and I think he just had an airgasm. Mike lays the exposition down: there will be a dogfight between two players. The goal is to get behind the opponent and get their plane in the windshield. Jonny adds that those who win in the shortest time will receive the Freshlook Lifesaver. “I’m so excited,” Nathan interviews. “I cannot wait to blow somebody’s ass out of the sky.”

Instructions. John the Flight Instructor goes over what the players have to do. Basically, once a player gets the opponent in the windshield, the guy on the intercom would confirm the hit, and the attacked plane blows smoke to signal the hit. Theo G. expresses the urgency for RW wins in this mission and in the Gauntlet. Over at RR, Darrell explains that three people have to sit out in order to ensure balance. Cara mentions to the group that she gets motion sickness and claustrophobia, but she doesn’t want that used against her. This must be a huge issue for her, given the last time she sat out a mission due to injury she was voted out the following week for her lack of commitment. Over Donell. That still gets to me. Adam interviews that Cara, Darrell, and Sarah will not be flying. “I don’t see it as a cop-out at all,” he continues. “I just think they’re looking out for the better interest of the team.” Anybody else think he’s full of it?

Jonny asks the teams for their flight order. The RW side has out their plan. Over at RR, Laterrian is raising a ruckus. It goes by so fast, I’m vague about details. I think he wants to go in a certain slot and is being a jerk about it. Adam feels the need to tell Laterrian to chill out. Adam interviews that Laterrian brought down morale, and he needs to step up, adding, “It’s just the wrong way to start a mission.”

Ultra-Cool Slow-Motion Shots of Players in Flight Suits: Rachel B., Nathan, and Coral; Rachel R., Theo V. and Veronica; Theo G., Trishelle, and Mike; Roni, Adam, and Laterrian. Quick note: Coral’s suit is zipped so far down, you can see she’s not wearing a bra. Like she’s posing for the “Girls of the Air Force” spread in Playboy. (See picture at the top of the article.)[2017: Sorry about that. She did make an impressive figure]

Abram climbs into the plane, ready to shoot his opponent. Alton notes that he has never flown a plane before. The planes start up. Irulan blows a kiss to Alton, while Abram gives a thumbs up to his teammates. He interviews that he wanted to be an Air Force pilot, so this is his boyhood dream come true.

Planes in the air. The intercom buzzes “Tally ho,” starting the match. Both pilots look for each other. Abram gets his plane behind Alton, who doesn’t realize it. Soon, Alton is in Abram’s windshield. Intercom: “Gun, gun, gun.” Smoke shoots out of Alton’s plane, while Abram whoops it up in the cockpit. He interviews about what happened, and I’m sure he had another airgasm.

The planes land as the RR side cheers Abram. Meanwhile, Theo V. and Trishelle gear up for their trip. “Trishelle is about to get at it in the air,” Theo drawls. “I know you’re used to getting at it, but I know you’re not used to getting at it up there. I’m gonna take you down. Holla!”

Round 2. The planes maneuver for position. Trishelle doesn’t see Theo behind her. “I got my eye on the prize, bro,” he cackles. Even in the air, he still has to be a wit. Theo positions. “Gun, gun, gun.” Smoke. Theo yodels joyously in the cockpit. Trishelle interviews that she hasn’t done well in the past two missions, and she thought she could have won.

Round 3: Adam vs. Theo G. Theo thinks he sees Adam, but Adam gets into position. “Gun, gun, gun.” Smoke. Road Rules up, 3-0. On the ground, the RR side celebrates, while RW looks dejected. Abram interviews, reveling in the misery of his opponents. Cut to Coral, whose flight suit is still zipped down, and you can check the lack of a bra for yourself. “This mission is killing us,” Rachel B. interviews. “We look like idiots.” Theo G. points out the obvious: RW has to win four in a row.

Back from commercials, the RW side cheers Nathan. He interviews about not flying. Yeah, there’s a lot of that going around, so don’t sweat it. His opponent for Round 4: Rachel R. They circle. Nathan gets behind her. “Gun, gun, gun.” Smoke. Nathan in cockpit: “That’s what I’m [bleeping] talking about!” Rachel in cockpit: “That sucks.”

Rachel B. voiceovers that she hates flying in planes, and she is extremely scared. Round 5: Rachel vs. Steve. Steve looks behind him, but Rachel manages to get the shot. “Gun, gun, gun.” Smoke. Theo V. interviews that Steve is not contributing to the team. Shot of Theo wearing a “Re-Elect Reagan” t-shirt. I’m sure there’s a funny story in that, but for now? Shut up, Theo.

On the ground. Coral talks to Irulan about the need to beat Laterrian in order to avoid the Gauntlet. Irulan interviews that since Coral’s win, she had been “on her p’s and q’s.” People still say that? Cut to flashback: Coral in the Gauntlet, staring at Tina, practically willing her to fall from the trapeze. Laterrian gets into his plane. He interviews about being on a losing streak (perhaps indicating bad times in Extreme Challenge and Battle of the Sexes), and that he might be going to the Gauntlet.

Round 6: Coral vs. Laterrian. Circling. Coral looks up and sees Laterrian. “Gun, gun, gun.” Smoke. Coral screams in joy, as she ties the score at 3-3. The roles are now reversed: RW is whooping it up, RR looks stunned.

Round 7: Mike vs. Dave. Circling. Mike comes from behind. “Gun, gun, gun.” Smoke. Mike’s really cutting loose in the cockpit. Dave asks if he’s done. RW up, 4-3. “I fully have confidence in my team,” Nathan interviews. “I really think this is going to be the mission we’re going to take.”

Round 8: Irulan vs. Veronica. Veronica wastes little time. “Gun, gun, gun.” Smoke. “It sucks to lose,” Irulan interviews. “I wanted to smoke that fool.”

Jonny Extreme Close-Up. He points out that both teams are tied at four wins apiece, and that it comes down to Norman against Roni. In the air, both pilots look up. Norman is in the target. “Gun, gun, gun.” Smoke. Game over. RR wins, 5-4. Roni whoops it up. Yes... this is a Roni moment. I honestly didn’t think she could be a hero on this show. As she lands, Roni flashes the devils horns while her teammates cheer and hug her.

Denouement. Jonny awards the $10,000 check to Road Rules, which is picked up by Cara, Darrell, and Sarah. That might have been a bad choice, since they didn’t actually fly. At least they thanked their teammates for the win. Jonny hands out the Freshlook Lifesavers to Nathan (gunned down Rachel in 26 seconds) and Adam (took out Theo in 2:10). Jonny gives both sides 30 minutes to decide who goes into the Gauntlet.

Mansion. RW meeting. Trishelle tells the group that she doesn’t think she’s the weak link and she’s frustrated that everybody else isn’t honest with themselves about their performances. While she labels Coral as the weakest link, she decides to vote for herself. Brilliant gambit, Trishelle. Why Mark Burnett hasn’t called you for a Survivor audition, I will never know. “We can’t lose Trishelle,” Mike interviews. “She has the heart, she has the desire. I don’t think we can lose someone who has that sort of drive.” I think she’s got something else, if you know what I mean. Coral interviews, repeating what Trishelle said in a mock Southern accent, then adding, “I was like, ‘biiitttcccchhh’!” Well put.

Returning from commercials, Coral votes for Trishelle. Irulan: “It’s kind of awkward when you feel like your loyalty has been broken by another woman.” She votes for herself, while Alton votes for himself. Norman’s vote for Trishelle is for support, since he is confident she can win in the Gauntlet. Rachel B. votes for Trishelle since she volunteered. Nathan votes for Trishelle, thinking she can win. Theo G. votes for Trishelle. Mike decides to go with his gut instinct... and vote for Irulan, since she didn’t win against Veronica. Wow. That was super weak. In her interview, Coral snipes that he was for people volunteering, but he’s upset that Trishelle did it. Irulan: “It feels a little bit like a cop-out.” The gang gets their act together for a group cheer.

RR meeting. After the first vote, Steve has 32 points, Laterrian has 13, and Veronica finishes with 10. Laterrian interviews that he’s a strong competitor and he doesn’t want to go to the Gauntlet. He apologizes to the group for arguing with Adam. What a dummy. The others have basically shoved Steve into the lead and Laterrian is fishing for forgiveness. Steve interviews and he’s as put off by the insincerity as I am. Adam reads off the votes, where Steve raises a fist in some power salute. Final score: Steve 35, Laterrian 20, Veronica 17. Steve is happy, since the others are honest with him.

Interlude. I post on Television Without Pity’s forums. I couldn’t ask for a better place to express my feelings on television shows. And they have a feature where you can black out stuff you don’t want to spoil for others. In my mind, I remembered blocks of text that was blacked out, and I realized something: The name of the next to go was short. Real short. Shorter than “Trishelle.” So I did what any recapper would do: lie to myself. “Hey, it’s Steve,” I thought. “He’s survived one Gauntlet. No way he can lose.”

Gauntlet site. Steve is in a boxer’s robe and the team is having fun with his fantasy. Jonny welcomes Trishelle and Steve to the Gauntlet. The RR side hams it up as Steve gets and spits out water. Steve has on his “Rozelle” headband, which he called a “screw you” gesture the first time he wore it. He rolls the die, and it comes up Perfect Fit. Jonny goes over the rules again: players retrieve puzzle pieces from the pool and assemble them on a stand. See, he has to win! When she was growing up, Trishelle had friends. Steve had puzzles. Steve probably thought he was a puzzle until the age of 14. Piece of cake, right? “I’m a little nervous,” Trishelle interviews, “but I’m good at a lot of things people don’t know about.” Steve is confident, since he beat Tonya at this last time.

Jonny gets the players ready. Mike: “I’m really nervous for Trishelle in this Gauntlet, because I can lose her.” Shut up, Mike. Airhorn. Both players dive into the pool, tossing pieces out. Steve climbs out first, going through the pieces. Trishelle gets out and starts on her own. Cut to Steve close to finishing. Cut to Trishelle, slamming the final piece for the win. Game over. What? WHAT?! You have GOT to be kidding me! I lucked out last season, when I only had Melissa to care about and she made to the penultimate episode. Seriously, I did not see this one coming. Remember: never get emotionally attached to anybody on a reality show. I should’ve learned that lesson after John Vito and Jill got eliminated in The Amazing Race.

Alton and Mike rush Trishelle, hugging her hard. Steve manages to mutter, “Yeah, good for her,” and actually sound sincere about it. “Ninety-nine times out of one hundred, I would have beaten Trishelle,” he interviews. “But this was that one time!” He’s smiling, so he doesn’t come off as bitter. I think Sarah speaks for us all: “Who would think Trishelle would be good at puzzles?” This causes Adam to laugh. Well, I still got Sarah... until her team decides to throw her over the edge again. Trishelle: “To all the people who don’t think I’m smart just because I’m a girl and because I like clothes and because I flirt with boys... boo-yah!” No, we don’t think you’re smart because... oh, I won’t get into it. I’m not in the mood for the easy kill.

Sarah hugs Steve. Cutest platonic couple on this show. Steve: “Out of all these wonderful things that I experienced in my life, the one story I’m going to have to swallow to tell my grandchildren is the day when Las Vegas Trishelle from Real World whupped my ass!” Once again, with a smile on his face and no venom in his heart. Are you taking notes, Katie?

Night. Irulan tells a few of her teammates that she loves Trishelle, and she herself didn’t take out Veronica. She adds that she told Elka that she was okay with going to the Gauntlet, but for the right reasons. “Mike talks all this stuff about track record,” Irulan interviews, “and it just started to feel like he just wasn’t being honest about what the reasons were.” Norman is wearing a shirt with the face of former castmate Heather B. on it. Is it wrong of me to want Heather to magically jump out and slap everybody on the RW side? Anyway, Norman thinks the eruptions caused by Mizhelle might break the team apart. Alton interviews that people look up to Mike to make the non-biased choices. Cut to Mizelle, snuggling in bed.

Guess what? BMP didn’t give Steve the farewell montage that the other departed players received. I guess that makes Steve the Osten of this group. Bleh. I’ll do the eulogy. When I first saw Steve, it was on a promo card for The Quest. Seeing him striking an Elvis pose, I was sure he would be the person voted out of the group and I would not like him. I am glad to have been wrong. Between The Quest and The Gauntlet, Steve has been one of the funnier guys in recent BMP history. Rather than shoot vainly for stardom in California, he decided to go into teaching. So if your kid starts raving about his cool new teacher who’s a Royals fan, you might have seen him on television already.

Next time: Jonny welcomes everybody to Inferno. What? The new season’s starting? But... I’m not ready! I don’t have my arsenal of CT jokes prepared! I barely know who Dave Mirra is! I... oh, that’s the name of the event. It’s weird, since I don’t see any fire involved. And I could’ve sworn I saw a cat doll. RR meeting. Adam talks about strong and weak people. Cara: “Why are you telling her that she’s weak before going into the Gauntlet?” I got a bad feeling about this. RW Meeting. Mike votes for Coral, and her eyebrow goes up. Rachel B.: “He needs to start thinking with the correct head, because he’s [bleeping] not!” Ha! Mike stands behind Trishelle, like the wimp that he is.

 Somehow, I forgot to point out that those sitting out of Red Barron (eyeroll, though I'm not getting the red misspell line) were immune. That's how Steve -- the architect of the 3-2-1 voting process -- got voted in. Otherwise, Road Rules would have tossed in Sarah. As you'll find out in the new few episodes, that was their all-purpose "Plan A."

If a production assistant comes out of hiding to reveal that the Gauntlet was rigged for Trishelle to win, I would not be that surprised. For the record: I don't think she's dumb. Sure. she makes a lot of bad life decisions (re: William Hung, "She Bangs"), but I'm thinking her IQ is in triple digits. I look at it from BMP's perspective . ..  would you rather have the seldom-seen cast member of The Quest win again? Or one of the leads in a very memorable season of The Real World? If the die came up Dead Man's Drop, Steve's trapeze would've been greased. If they had to do Ride 'Em Cowboy, Trishelle's bull would barely have moved. With Perfect Fit, I'm thinking Trishelle's puzzle pieces were numbered. They had to be, because I can't give her one shred of credit. Needless to say, I was never a fan.

Almost forgot: Steve and Sarah would have made a cute couple. I don't think his butt squeeze on her was the idea of the producers. Alas, Steve had a girlfriend (whom I also befriended prior to the season), and Sarah would win up hanging out with somebody else. That's another story, and I will vent when that time comes.

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