Monday, September 04, 2017

The Inferno Episode 6: Hearts Afire

Looking back at this recap, I had forgotten that this was around the time Survivor: All-Stars was airing. This was around the time Richard Hatch (the series' first champion) had gotten naked during a challenge and grinded his ugly whatever on Susan Hawk. Rich wound up getting voted off, but Sue was really damaged, thinking that her husband wouldn't forgive her. I mean, I knew that wouldn't be the case, but when you feel that alone, the depression cuts deep. Anyway, before the next challenge, Sue goes double bugfuck with cheese before leaving the game on her own. Her tribe celebrated afterward, complete with Tom Buchanan (the farmer I suspect diddles his goats) singing "Ding Dong, The Witch Is Dead." Amber didn't join in, which was probably her most admirable moment in her two tours of duty. I know, she won that season, but she probably wasn't among the first people Mark Burnett called up.

This episode: I still wasn't Team Katie. I still did not think much of Jeremy. Looking at what I wrote, I forgot that Trishelle had been a complete bitch even without being on the show itself. The only other Challenger I can recall pulling that off was Zach in Rivals III, when Jenna found out he was unfaithful to her when another girl picked up his phone. I know, Jenna's taste in guys stinks, but that was low, even coming from a Neanderthal. I'm amazed his knuckles aren't constantly bleeding from dragging them on the ground.

Airdate: March 1, 2004

Recap Published: March 6, 2004

It's all about surgery this week, as both teams attempt to take each other's hearts out of the game. In other news: Mike and Kendal heat up, Katie continues to stink, and Trishelle makes waves without being in Acapulco.
As I start to write this recap, it's early Friday morning. I've watched the latest Survivor, and I'm feeling a blinding hatred for most of those contestants. Suddenly, this Challenge has become a pleasant diversion. Bring on the in-fighting! It's like Club Med, and I'm sipping a virgin Daiquiri on the beach with Rachel B. and Theo V. Not even the impending showdown between bitter rivals can compare to the All Stars train wreck.

Previously on The Inferno: Mike and Kendal flirted with each other. Real World halted their losing streak by winning Disco Domino Derby. Mike volunteered for the Inferno, wanting to set the right tone for his team. Over on the Road Rules side, Jeremy stepped up, but backtracked once he and Mike were picked to go into the Inferno.

Nighttime. Mike and Kendal are cuddled in bed. In reality television circles, that means they're married. Mike interviews that they enjoy each other's company, and they've been hanging out. He's playing it by ear, so there will be no drama when he gets back home. Kendal pops out of the bed. She interviews that they have a strange connection with each other. She tells Mike to be prepared to lose tomorrow. She interviews that they're sleeping in their own beds right now.

Outside. Mike is on his cell phone with a friend from back home, saying he's done nothing with Kendal. Turns out somebody has been spreading rumors. He interviews that Kendal was dating one of his friends, and that person heard that she and Mike had been sleeping together. Who has been spreading this rumor? I'll give you a hint: her name kinda rhymes with "bitch hell." Yes, in an effort to maintain her presence on a show without being on it, Trishelle has decided to spread some rumors. Who does this? She kisses five guys in front of Mike, and now she's doing this? Is she even from this planet? Mike insists that he hasn't tried anything because he's friends with Blair (Kendal's last boyfriend) and some fella named Jonathan. Mike interviews that he hurt his best friend, and he doesn't know how to get out of it.

Mike tells Kendal that he's been consoling Jonathan since 5 a.m. Kendal tells us that she had dated Jonathan, but the spark wasn't there on her part. "I'm supportive of it," Mike interviews. "I get it. I don't like it, but what can you do?" They hug, and Mike apologizes.

Daytime. Mission site. Dave welcomes everybody to Balls Out. Everybody cheers, since Dave said "balls." There are two rows of stationary bicycles, each with a clear tube. The objective: pedal on the bike, blow air through the tube, and keep a small ball afloat inside a safety zone. Each team also has garden hoses and buckets. When players are eliminated, two of them can take turns messing up their opponents. Dave declares this a "last man standing" event. Coral chimes in with "wo-MAN." Please don't play the gender card. Dave tactfully calls it a "last person standing" event, with the winning team getting $10,000 and Dave's signature bike. Also, the last player left on each team receives the Aztec Lifesaver.

Strategy sessions. Jeremy interviews that he's going to stay on the bike even if he cries blood. Timmy tells the others that the mission will come down to knocking out the opposition. Katie and Shane volunteer to go after RW with the water. She interviews that they will quit immediately so they "can get Real World wet and try to mess up their balls." Feel free to snicker. On the RW side, Leah has the same idea. Coral interviews that she and Leah will figure out a way to put water in the hole to block air from keeping the ball aloft.

Dave blows his airhorn, and the plans go forward, as Coral and Leah; and Shane and Katie get off their bikes. Timmy is wearing an old-school flat-topped Pirates cap, which really looks out of place in Acapulco. Coral starts in with a bucket of water, while Shane works a hose. Katie starts dumping water at a rather high arc. In an interview, Veronica bitches about Katie laughing and dousing herself with water. "That's not funny," Veronica snipes. "You're supposed to get these people out." While Katie is still tossing, Shane is ineffectual with the hose.

On the RR side, Coral starts thrashing water into the hole on the bottom of the tube. Jeremy? Gone. Christena and Holly? Gone. Coral punctuates the eliminations with "Outta there!" Hey, it's funny for me, anyway. Abram interviews that he doesn't know how Coral is taking out his team. Leah and Coral double-team Darrell. Meanwhile, Shane is still having problems with the hose.

Back from commercials, we see that RW has six players left, while RR has four. Shane nails Julie in the face, and the ball pops out from the top of the tube. Interesting... so pedaling too hard has consequences as well. Syrus eliminates himself in the same way. On the other side, Leah and Coral eliminate Darrell, Kendal, Abram, and Veronica to get the victory. Katie interviews that the team thinks the loss is due to her and Shane. She rolls her eyes when she says this, so I'm guessing she's not taking this seriously.

Since an Aztec Lifesaver is at stake, the remaining RW players keep going. For some reason, RR is still allowed to douse them. Shane sprays David, eliminating him. Mike interviews that there are three people left in the game (him, CT, and Mallory), and RR is focusing on him. Darrell has replaced Katie on bucket duty. Mike pedals hard, almost knocking the bike over before getting eliminated. He throws a hissy fit, slamming his cap to the ground. Mallory is eliminated, giving CT the Lifesaver.

Denouement. Dave awards the $10,000 and the bikes to RW, tying both squads at $30,000 apiece. He awards the Lifesavers to Veronica and CT (or "C-Tizzle," as Mike calls him.) Dave announces that he will see them at the Inferno tonight. RW celebrates, while Christena grouses about losing the money and prizes. "The two most important variables you should have on a team: trust and communication," she continues. "We don't have those."

RW members laugh about Katie's ineptitude. They call her their teammate, going so far as to hug her and lift her in celebration. And she lets them. Man, RW never did that with Sarah, and she wouldn't have let them. Just another reason why Katie is such an albatross. Timmy and Holly look on, clearly disgusted. Veronica vents some more, declaring it embarrassing. Christena orders Katie away from her new-found friends. "Katie was giving people bubble baths," Timmy interviews. "Now it's time to not be so nice and start cutting off some weak links." Fun fact: you cannot spell "weakest link" without "K-A-T-I-E.”

Night. Villa. Jeremy and Katie have a conversation which turns my stomach. Jeremy thinks that Katie is a focal point for the team's negative attention. "We have this unspoken camaraderie that we're the underdogs," he interviews. "I love underdogs in this world, and she's one of them. She's feisty, she gets in people's faces and things like that, but there's an inner person that some people don't know." In other words, Jeremy is trying to convince us that Katie is this season's Sarah, which is a total crock. At least Sarah tried her best most of the time, which is a lot more that what I've seen of Katie. Also, Sarah never tried to rip somebody's head off for votes against her. I haven't forgotten that Katie took shots at Sarah in the preview special about how she just let the votes happen. Katie's a scrub, end of story.

Now it's time for Katie to make my eyes roll. She says that people are more concerned with money with than each other. Jeremy figures that Katie is looking for respect, and he'll sit down and regroup after he beats Mike. Katie: "I think Jeremy is the heart of Road Rules, and definitely the most positive person on our team." Say what? Jeremy is not the heart of the team. He's barely the appendix. He's wasn't even the first choice when it came to replacing Abram on South Pacific. To me, the heart of a team is somebody who pumps life into the teammates and whose elimination would be crippling. On the RR side this year, that's Timmy and Holly. If Syrus had gone into the first Inferno, we wouldn't even be listening to Jeremy talk about how he has to prove himself.

Elsewhere, Mike talks to Kendal about feeling like an a-hole. Kendal interviews that Mike's mind is somewhere else. "He's not able to focus," she continues. "If he can forget about all the drama that's been going on, and put his head in the right place and focus, he can do anything when he puts his mind to it." Sure, but he's on the opposing team, Kendal. His happiness might end up being your sadness. Kendal tells Mike that she feels bad for him and his inner turmoil. Mike interviews about dealing with the Kendal and Trishelle situations. "Now I gotta go to the Inferno," he snipes. "This is fantastic. I'm having a great week."

Inferno site. Shots of flames. The players walk down the stairs in slow-motion. Mike: "Every time we walk down to the Inferno, it reminds me of Hell. I feel like Dave is Satan, and that's his lair." You know, Jonny Moseley was never referred to as a Prince of Darkness. Syrus openly wonders why it's "200 degrees in this bitch." Timmy cracks wise about this not being "the Chiller." Interesting note: most of RW is wearing Mike's Miz shirts. Anything to boost sales, I guess. Dave welcomes everybody to tonight's event: Human Candelabra. Both players will hold lit candles with outstretched arms. Sadly, the players won't be forced to sing "Be Our Guest" the entire time. Dave asks CT if he'll bail out Mike. CT wants Mike and his big muscles to stay. Dave asks Veronica about Jeremy, and she lets him stay.

Preparations. Jeremy figures that Mike's big arms will work against him. Dave shows both guys two stands coated with paint. If a player's hand drops four inches, it will hit the paint. Mike repeats what Jeremy said, and reveals that he has named his arms "Big Dub Diesel" (left) and "The Boss" (right). Such a tool, I swear. The candles are lit, and Dave bangs his gong to start the match. Both men stretch their arms out. "Mike is the heart and soul of the Real World," Holly interviews. "If you can take the heart out of the team, which is what Jeremy intends to do tonight, then you don't have a team anymore." See, Holly agrees with my definition. As big a schmuck as he can be, Mike has been the heart for the past few seasons. Nobody else has come close.

Back from commercials, Jeremy lowers his arms a little. Mike stares at him, giving off his version of Coral's infamous Evil Witch Stare. He interviews that he has to stay for his team. Elapsed time: 4:00. Jeremy lowers his arms, his hand coming perilously close to hitting paint. Elapsed time: 5:00. A hush falls over both sides. Mallory interviews that Jeremy is shaking and losing his focus.

Elapsed time: 5:13. Jeremy's arms are shaking, while Mike is rock steady. Jeremy's hand smudges the paint, and Mike to repeatedly yells and curses to point it out to Dave. Gong. Game Over. Mike: "There's no feeling like going into the Inferno and then coming out victorious." Mike taps Jeremy's shoulder, but the loser decides to slam the candle down. RW celebrates their first Inferno win, while Jeremy stalks off. Timmy: "The best man and the nicest guy on the whole crew, on either team, is going home. The nicest human playing this game needs to go home. That's why this is all [bleeped] up." I swear, when I heard this, I was wondering why Timmy was leaving. Then I realized he was talking about Jeremy.

Dave congratulates Mike for his win, and Jeremy for toughing it out.. A graphic shows that RR has now lost one player, while RW has lost two. "We knew that Road Rules' strategy was to take the heart out of our team," Leah interviews. "That's what the Miz is. He's the heart of the Real World team and he wasn't leaving. But nice try, Road Rules." Katie interviews that the loss of Jeremy will hurt RR, that they wanted to take out RW's heart, but RW did it to RR.

RR area. Jeremy gives a speech about how his teammates should be truthful to each other. He brings up wanting to talk with Katie in a constructive manner. With her only friend gone, Katie is dead meat. Christena tells Jeremy that RW's departures had been sour, and he has lifted the team back up. Seriously, is Jeremy that special? I honestly don't see it.

Jeremy gets escorted out of the villa. "Jeremy was a good competitor," Abram interviews. "He was doing well in the missions. Our team is not as strong as it was with him." Slow-motion shot of Katie. Back to Abram: "We're going to be voting her off the next time until we figure out how to scheme and plan and throw a mission just to get her off the team." At first, I thought Abram was being an idiot, but he might be on to something. RR could nominate two ladies other than Katie, ensure that the nominee wins the Aztec Lifesaver, and Katie gets placed into the Inferno. No way would RW pick her, since she damages her own squad by being there. That and a few RW members are probably still smarting over getting their butts handed to them by Sarah. Jeremy gets on board the short boat, as Timmy and Julie say their goodbyes. Damn, Julie gets into everything.

Nightclub. Random shots of fun and merriment. Mike and Kendal get close. Mike interviews that he always finds himself around Kendal. She tells him that they have nothing to lose, but it's something. "I can't help it if a girl likes me and I like her and my friend got in the middle," Mike interviews. "It's not my fault. It's almost like I'm looking out for me for once." Kendal, looking a little tipsy, gives Mike her trust and respect. She interviews that their friendship has developed into something meaningful. They share their first kiss, which is kinda tame by reality standards. Fade to black.

Next week: Something with cargo nets. Coral gets tangled up, and Julie gets frustrated with her. Coral curses out Julie. Julie: "I'm not willing to just sit back and let her run the show." Syrus: "You do not want to get into an argument with Coral." Coral: "I just don't like the bitch, because her personality sucks." That's right, boys and girls. It's Coral vs. Julie. Shoot, who needs grinding and drunken hillbillies?

Jeremy would return in Gauntlet 2, lasting eleven missions on the Rookies team before being dispatched by Alton. Jeremy is not the most famous Challenger ever. He's not even the most famous Challenger from Parma,OH; that would be Mike. He's probably a decent guy, but I wasn't kidding about the "appendix" bit.

Next time: Coral vs. Julie, which is probably why most people go back to watch this season.

Saturday, September 02, 2017

The Inferno Episode 5: Disco Inferno

Apologies for the delay. It's not like I've been super busy. Like most of you, I've been watching Dirty XXX with some horror at how it's playing out. I mean, Johnny could go out next and CT could retire with his second straight win, and I'd still nitpick all the twists. However, I have to acknowledge that BMP is looking back at Challenge history . . . especially with the latest episode, where they brought out bits of the awesome-in-retrospect Battle Of The Sexes intro to go over the relationship between Aneesa and Veronica. Which . . . ick. Aneesa can do SO much better. On the bright side, Rachel got shit talked about her, and that's awesome by me since I still don't like her.

 Bottom line: even though MTV would probably only run "my" seasons online (Gauntlet 2 is currently available; I really wouldn't recommend it), I should keep up with the archiving. This might be a little problematic, especially since I will be covering two comic book conventions and start undergoing vocational training in a few weeks. Screw it, I will make the time. Also, since lots of Challenge alumni peek on the Facebook group I'm on, I never know who will be reading.

Anyway . . . here's a blah mission, the start of Mizdal, and I bring up the Sally Jesse story at the start of the recap. Also, Darrell murders "Inferno" and leaves its limp body in the open. Good times.

Airdate: February 23, 2004
Recap Published: February 29, 2004 (hey, Leap Day!)

The players go retro and play with dominoes. But while Real World has no problem finding volunteers for the Inferno, the Road Rules guys don’t want to face the music.
Before I get started on this episode, I should throw in my two cents on the treatment of Trishelle on the final episode of The Surreal Life 2. Make no mistake, I don’t like her. We’re in different worlds, and I don’t necessarily see her youth as an excuse for her behavior. And yes, I celebrated each time she was bounced from the Challenge. But you know what? She did not need to be dressed down by the likes of Sally Jesse Raphael. Treating Trishelle like trash was Sally Jesse’s job? Last I checked, she didn’t have a job. I had the misfortune of attending a taping of her show back in the day. Believe me, Sally Jesse belonged in that house more than anybody in there, including Trishelle. Now that I’ve defended Trishelle, anticipate pigs fly over Wrigley Field in October during the Red Sox/Cubs World Series.

Previously on The Inferno: After a heated Real World meeting, Trishelle ended up going to the Inferno. Road Rules thumped RW in Climbing Wall. Abram taunted Mike with “Who’s the big winner?” I’m telling you, that’s quickly supplanting Laterrian’s “Hoo-RAH!” as the show’s catchphrase. In the Inferno, Holly outlasted Trishelle in a chili-eating contest. CT interviews that his team needs to step up.

Night. Now it’s time for another Challenge tradition: Mike looking to hook up with a girl. This season, the lovely Kendal is in his crosshairs. Here, he wrestles with her playfully, calling out moves and tossing her around. As much as I loathe the “Miz” persona, I concede that Mike has good amateur wrestling skills. He’s so quick, Kendal has little time to react. Mike interviews that Kendal is very sweet and angelic. She interviews that she’s enjoying Mike’s company. He manages to pull down both her socks and pulls a sneaker off her foot. Yeah... that’s love.

Mike is at a table with Julie, who is showing off 327 of her front teeth. He’s going on about he uses Jacuzzis in a romantic way. Kendal thinks that he needs a tool to get the girls. “All this cuteness with Mike and Kendal is just overwhelmingly sickening,” Julie interviews, “Mike and Kendal are Ken and Barbie. They’re the cutest thing I’ve ever seen.” Mike keeps insisting that all women go for the Jacuzzi, and that they want to be bad. Kendal leaves, but returns to dump a glass of water on Mike’s head. The hilarity never seems to end.

RW area. Coral tells the team that the losing “ain’t cracking.” She figures that the team should decide who should go and win in the Inferno. Syrus interviews that the team has “huge freakin’ hogs, like thoroughbreds,” but none of that want to go into the Inferno. Mike interviews that they’ve tried several plans, but none of them work because of the in-fighting.

Breakfast. A shirtless and scruffy David reads the clue off the sponsored communications device. I can hear the thuds nationwide, as the ladies swoon and hit the floor. CT interviews that RW has to step up, since they have two fewer people. Christena: “We want to keep this lead we have. I think we’re tearing away at their team, and I think it’s beautiful.”

Shots of Acapulco life. Cut to Dave, welcoming everybody to El Alebrije, the largest club in Latin America. Today’s mission? Disco Domino Derby. Each team gets 110 giant dominos. The objective: line them up and knock them over with one push. The first team to get it done wins $10,000 for their bank, as well as a home entertainment component. Naturally, the kids cheer harder for that than the check. Dave’s motions with the arm? Pretty good for a novice host. Gotta move that product, man. “Any time you throw a prize in there,” Coral interviews, “greedy Real Worlders will snatch it up.” Dave adds a twist: the teams will be geared up with roller skates and disco outfits. Nice way to distract from a dull mission.

Both teams suit up. After Heavyweight Hustle and the fat suits, I have no problem with the retro gear. Afros are everywhere... even Darrell gets one, even though he’s got another back at the villa. Katie tries to find a feminine outfit. CT looks like John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever... y’know, if Travolta had walked the streets of Boston. Mike has a helmet over an afro, and I keep thinking of Oscar Gamble. Syrus dons a lime pimp suit with black-and-white zebra-striped lapels. Timmy’s suit has an eagle on it. Needless to say, the players are having fun, and I don’t hate them for it.

RR skull session. Timmy instructs Jeremy to deliver the dominoes. Jeremy goes off on yet another monologue about how he’s the New Kid and he has to Prove Himself To The Others. Holly: “I think there’s some Real World pride at stake here. To go behind 4-1... wouldn’t that be pretty for them?” Over on the RW side, David advises his goofy-suited troops to be efficient. Mike interviews that RW is down by two players, and they have to work twice as hard to make it up.

Dave blows his airhorn, and both teams start rolling. Here’s where I’d be screwed. I can’t skate. I’d be clinging to a wall, shouting directions. “We have more people to set up the domino, more experienced roller skaters,” Jeremy interviews. “If we don’t win this, there is something seriously wrong with our team.” More rolling and assembling. Mallory interviews about the importance of skating. Suddenly, Mike tips over a domino, leading to a premature chain reaction. What kills me is that David calls out “Michael!” That is such a David thing, calling Mike by his birth name. Mike interviews that he managed to knock down the back half, and his mistake could cost his team the mission. RW frantically starts reassembling. David interviews that the only thing to do is keep your head in the game.

More rolling. More assembling. This is the soccer of missions... fun to play, boring to watch. Jeremy rolls around, bragging about how he was born on four wheels. He was born in a car? I can see that. Assembling. Position adjusting. RR rushes, as does RW. Suddenly, the atmosphere takes the feeling of DEFCON 2. RR pushes their first domino, followed by RW. The camera follows one RR line... but pans to another, which has stopped dead on a staircase. Kendal interviews that a domino was on the wrong stair. Actually, the problem is that a stair was skipped, and one domino didn’t strike another with enough force to continue the reaction.

Meanwhile, the RW line keeps moving, finishing first. The team celebrates, as the lights flicker brightly. Syrus to Mike: “You are three men and one woman all in one!” What? Seriously... what? Mike interviews about how the team came together, while Coral and Syrus playfully grind on him.

Denouement. Dave awards the $10,000 and the component to RW. Mallory interviews that this was the boost they needed. Holly interviews that the morale is down for RR. Dave tells both teams to decide which two men will be nominated for the Inferno. Syrus interviews about learning from the past to plan the strategy.

RW Meeting. Coral declares there are no weaker guys here. She wants a nominee to “not pull a Trishelle, not pull an Ace.” As much as I can like Coral, I’d want her to shove peppers down her throat first, or coat her face in syrup and bugs. Leah wants to have confidence in whoever goes into the Inferno. Coral openly wonders who would be crazy enough to go in. She keeps going, basically talking about Mike without bringing his name up. Eventually, he volunteers to be nominated, but he vows to win the Aztec Lifesaver. He interviews that the only way to do things right is to volunteer and feel like winning. Coral asks CT if he wants to go, but David volunteers instead. He interviews that they can’t lose again, and he and ”Michael” feel confident in themselves. The team does a cheer, and the girls chest-bump each other.

RR Meeting. Timmy asks who want to go. Abram volunteers, prompting Holly to call him a stud. Thankfully, Veronica keeps her trap shut about the icky stuff. Abram interviews that he must be out of his mind to volunteer. Timmy asks for another volunteer. The other three guys don’t say a word. Shane looks especially displeased. He declares that he doesn’t want to volunteer and then get pushed into it in the future. Basically, he’s playing the Sarah card. Holly thinks everybody should have a shot, and she can’t guarantee not going back in. “No one wants to go to the Inferno because anything can happen there,” Veronica interviews. “No one here is taking initiative, so we’ve got some problems.” The camera cuts around the guys, who are silent.

Coming back from commercials, Jeremy breaks the silence, declaring that he has no problem going back in. Holly interviews that no one should offer themselves up after winning. Holly, where the heck were you last season? Sarah needed you, girl! We get a flashback of Bug Helmet, with Ace bailing and Jeremy jumping around like a spazz. Holly: “I think everybody should share equal time down there, but if you’re willing as Jeremy is to go, then why not?” Shane interviews that he is happy, and he will never volunteer.

And now let’s get a nugget of wisdom from Jeremy. “People like to be led, that’s the bottom line. There’s the few that like to lead, and I’m one of those.” I laughed. Hard. Whatever you say, Jeremy. For somebody who’s always wanting to prove himself, Jeremy has an ego on him. Katie: “To volunteer yourself once is pretty ballsy. But to do it twice, then it just shows the other guys as wimpy.” For once, I agree with her.

Dave announces the nominees. Mike beats his chest as his name is called along with David’s. Abram and Jeremy are announced, and both sides cheer. Abram and Mike clink water bottles. Dave gives both sides ten minutes to make their picks. Darrell goes over the process again. He does it cleanly... except he pronounces it “Infuerno.” I want a remake of My Fair Lady with Darrell in the lead. How would be mangle “The rain in Spain falls mainly on the plain”?

RW Meeting. Mike: “One word, two syllables: Abram.” Everybody shoots him down. He mentions that he beat Abram once before. He keeps begging to drive Abram to the School of Hard Knocks one more time, beating his chest. Julie figures that Jeremy is a guaranteed win, and RW has to eliminate from the bottom up. Isn’t that what they thought before Ace ran off?

RR Meeting. Jeremy suggests Mike. Everybody agrees. Shortest meeting ever. Abram interviews that he can take Mike out of the game. Group cheer: “One, two, three, KILL!” Yeesh.

Both teams make their presentations. Once again, there’s the usual standoff before the plates Once again, Jeremy’s plate is misspelled, having an extra ”e.” Julie is confident that Mike will win the Inferno, since he’s bigger than Jeremy. She also says “big winner,” but it sounds like her voice has been infected by the virulent Boston accent. Coral: “We’re just hoping that we send his cute lil’ ass home.” Speaking of Jeremy, he’s a little nervous now. “When Miz was drawn to go up against me,” he interviews, “I take a deep breath and I’m thinking to myself, ‘What am I gonna do?’”

Night. Time to hit a local restaurant. That is, unless you’re one of these kids. Then you go to Hooters. Yes... a Hooters. In Acapulco. Christena and Mike talk about the RR guys not stepping up. She interviews that those guys look pathetic and weak.

Elsewhere, Abram and Jeremy are walking and talking. Abram gripes, telling Jeremy that he’ll keep quiet for now, but would force the others into volunteering. “Now I realize why I don’t trust any of these people,” Abram interviews. “Everybody’s got a knife in their pocket.”

Hooters. Christena tells Mike that her team has to get it together, or go home. “I don’t know what we’re afraid of,” she interviews. “My team is getting weak!” How is going 2-for-2 considered being weak? Back outside, Jeremy wants Darrell and Shane to go next. At Hooters, Christena tells Mike that Jeremy volunteered to get nominated. Mike thinks Jeremy was stupid, and I agree. Jeremy expositions that there’s another mission before the Inferno, and he can win the Aztec Lifesaver. If he wins it, he gets to pick somebody else. My fantasy involves Darrell getting shoved in and losing, then having to deal with Sarah (5-for-5 in the Gauntlet) on the boat ride home. Seriously, I had to listen to one negative thing after another from Darrell, and watching him get served would be sweet.

Hooters. Kendal interviews that Jeremy is a great teammate, but she likes flirting with Mike. Mike interviews that he’s friends with Kendal, but he doesn’t know if that will escalate. For now, he seems content dancing like a dork behind Kendal as he follows her.

Next week: Okay, I have no clue. I see stationary bikes, tubes, and water. Oh, and whatever they’re doing, Katie stinks at it... enough for Timmy to call her a weak link.

Rereading the recap . . . I predicted a Red Sox/Cubs World Series in jest, especially after they both came up short in 2003. Of course, the Red Sox would wind up winning their first title in 86 years, and they would come back 3-0 against the Yankees in the League Championship Series. Hey, remember when Curt Schilling wasn't the entire horse's ass? That was forever ago.

And dang, I was hard on Darrell. In retrospect, I can understand wanting to get rid of Sarah in Gauntlet, and he wasn't at the level of Adam, Rachel and Veronica (sorry for the flashback). I didn't start embracing him until Inferno II.