Monday, December 24, 2018

Battle of the Sexes 2 Episode 7: Showdown

Well . . . I'm going to turn 43 in a few hours, and I'm still stuck on reposting old material, which -- once again -- is currently the closest thing I have to a legacy to leave. On the bright side, I've been working at the same job for nine months. I need to take my victories where I can.

Here in 2018, we have our first respite from The Challenge, after four weeks of Final Reckoning reunion disaster scene (what did "Final Reckoning" indicate, anyway?) and CT's loved ones getting put under the microscope as he got married. Right now, there is way too much conflict between Challengers on social media, as if hating each other (or pretending to do so) is now their official job. On the bright side: Cara Maria & Paulie have broken up, but I think her standing as the "fan favorite" female has taken a hit. Also, three former Challengers got engaged to their respective love ones. Granted, it's just Johnny Reilly (probably the most obnoxious person from RW: Portland after Nia), CJ Koegel (from RW: Cancun, two seasons  and fourteen missions, zero titles) and Chuck Mowery (an Are You The One? transplant that got bounced early from Final Reckoning along with noisome partner Britni), but at least they're trying to resemble adults. And Rachel Robinson -- ol' Butterface herself -- recently became a mother again; this time, her partner gave birth. Right now, I reckon we should focus on peace on Earth, goodwill towards men . . . at least until The Challenge: War of the Worlds kicks off. Then all bets are off.

Episode Aired:November 15, 2004
Recap Posted: November 20, 2004

The teams duel, Wild West style. Can Angela bounce back from her disastrous performance last week? And will the editors give away the unlucky person going home this week?

Previously on Battle of the Sexes: Angela stepped up to be a leader in the Junk Boat mission, then stepped back down. Coral felt that Angela was dead weight, and I agreed with her about that. Coral being with Abram? Not so much. The women finally won a mission, besting the guys in Junk Boat. Mike interviewed that this was the first time he was a leader, and it sucked that he lost. The fellas cut him some slack, sending Derrick home instead. The ladies' Inner Circle voted out Cynthia rather than Angela, provoking dissension in the ranks. Angela sought refuge with Frank, whom she felt was the only person on her side. Cut to the girls bickering, with Tonya holding her head, trying to wish herself into the cornfield.

Frank and Angela take a relaxing stroll. He tells her to not to call the other girls out, but to defend herself. She interviews that Frank is there for her, and that he encourages her for missions. They walk to one of the lodges, where Frank announces that they just had sex. There's a "ha, ha, yeah right" vibe, which means that Frank is not dead to me. "I think Frank is a sweet guy," Angela interviews, "and he kinda has this geeky cute thing going on." Frank tells Steven that he hasn't been attracted to anybody else. Steven replies that everybody is attracted to Frank. Oh, and that Frank is huge down there. I'd worry about Steven, but that would mean caring about him. So I won't.

Hot tub. The guys chill out as Eric talks about leadership. Mike interviews that he's been disqualified once already, and he's never been in a situation of vulnerability. "It's hard for me to come into this Challenge," he continues, "and not be the guy everybody is looking at as the leader." Well, he's in my top five, along with Eric, Mark, Theo and Dan.

In the bedroom, we see Shawn. What the heck? He interviews that if the guys stick with the policy of voting, he doesn't think he'll be in the "hottest seat," but his name might come up. Now why would we hear from Shawn right now? While we ponder this, Brad smacks a ping pong ball off the wall. Almost like he and Randy never left San Diego. All we need is Jamie to pop up in a luchador's mask.

Clue time! Rachel and Theo read off their phones: mission begins at 9 a.m., wear jeans and shoes, and "be alert and aware," since they'll need full control of their senses. This group? Good luck with that. Aneesa interviews that it feels good to win. "The more that we win and see how we can work well as a team," she adds, "the better off we'll be."

Daytime. Old West ghost town, or reasonable facsimile thereof. Jonny waits for the kids, wearing a cowboy hat. The players get off the buses and walk through the swinging doors of a saloon. The girls see Pottery Barn gift certificates propped up on the table, and they are thrilled to pieces.

Jonny welcomes everybody to J.W. Eaves Ranch and today's mission: High Noon. Long story short, it's a "good ol' fashioned quick-draw shoot-em-up showdown." Jonny shows off paintball markers, which will be used as weapons. Players march to opposite ends and step into circles marked by rolled-up lassos. Aneesa expositions that the players wait until Jonny fires his gun, and then they open fire on each other. The first player to take our their opponent wins. Today's prize: a $500 gift certificate for each winner to Pottery Barn Teen. I associate "Challengers" and "Pottery Barn" the same as "gun" and "Jonny Moseley." Jonny gives both sides 30 minutes to pick leaders.

On the guys' side, Eric feels good to lead. Frank suggests Randy, since he's good at shooting. Brad steps up, bandana already over his mouth. On the women's side, Arissa expositions that she volunteered, since she's the only one to shoot a paint gun. Tonya goes up, since she has good leadership skills. That, and she has two penalties already. Finally, Angela feels that last week's events were a mistake, so she's stepping up no matter what.

Jonny announces the Inner Circles, as everybody is now wearing cowboy gear. He then goes over the scoring system: each player is assigned a different playing card, ranging from two to ace. Each card represents the number of points to be won, going up to fourteen for the ace. The team leaders will carry the highest cards (ace, king, and queen). Jonny suggests that the less confident shooters take the low cards. We cut to Shawn taking a two, interviewing that he has no experience with paint guns. The girls figure out the order, while the guys whoop it up. Tina draws the obvious parallel about guns and urine stains. Whatever.

Outside. We haven't heard anything from Theo today. "If it were a sewing machine shoot-off?" he interviews. "The girls would be great. They'd be firing quilts and dollies at everybody, but it's not. It's a Wild West shootout, and these young lassies can't even work a pistol." First of all: shut up. Second: who was constantly sewing last year on The Gauntlet? Wait... that was you. Robin and Shawn get ready with their protective masks as we head for commercials.

While there's a break in the action, I feel the need to send a message to Bunim-Murray Productions. Guys? Enough with the foreshadowing. We've seen Shawn twice before the first commercial. We know he's gone. There is zero drama now. And you guys have been doing this all season. Knock it off!

Two-Card: Robin vs. Shawn. Jonny fires his gun, and Robin manages to get the drop on Shawn. She shouts, "What? What?" several times, clearly channeling Brad. Jonny formally declares her the winner, as the ladies go up, 2-0.

Three-Card: Katie vs. Frank. She admits to having shaky hands, "but I want to shoot Frank in the balls." Good to dream, Katie. Jonny fires. Neither player connects. Jonny calls it a draw, and both competitors playfully bicker about shooting each other. Frank is obviously drawn to the wrong scrub. Girls still lead, 2-0.

Four-Card: Aneesa vs. Mark. He wins, taking a bow afterwards. Men lead, 4-2

Five-Card: Coral vs. Nick. Jonny asks both players if they're ready. Coral: "I was born ready! I stay ready! I ain't got to get ready, Jonny!" Jonny: "I know." The way he says it, like he was expecting Coral to pop off, amuses me. Jonny fires. Coral gets the shot, doing a victory dance afterwards. Women lead, 7-4.

Six-Card: Veronica vs. Steven. Veronica thinks she has to be patient, and she wants to get one paintball on Steven's butt. Jonny fires. Coral and her teammates yell for Veronica to stay calm, but Steven nails her in the mask. "I'm from Texas!" Steven boasts. "Did you expect anything less?" Shut up. Boys up, 10-7.
Seven-Card: Tina vs. Shane. What does our fair cowboy Shane want to do? "I want to [bleeping] kill her and send her ass far the [bleep] away from me." Jonny fires, and Tina wins. Good for her, and good that Shane failed after such a boast. She yells Bruce Willis' line from the Die Hard movies, the one where me slapping "Oedipus Rex" would diminish it. The girls hug Tina, and Tonya gets smacks Tina's butt. Ladies up, 14-10.

Mike gets ready for his duel. Eric lays out what we've known for weeks, that Mike is on thin ice. "How am I in the hot seat every time?" Mike gripes. "Because of the stupid name, DQ. That's the only reason why." Cut to Mike getting disqualified during Dangle Drop. "This DQ is basically going to be brought up every frickin' mission." Ibis smiles, getting readying to take on Mike. Suddenly, a dust storm kicks up. Shane thinks the gods understand the importance of this match, as the players take cover. Mike stays outside, knowing he has to win.

Eight-Card: Ibis vs. Mike. Jonny fires, keeping his hat on with the other hand. Mike wins, and the guys celebrate. You know, I had a fellow viewer theorize that the guys keep Mike on the team since they live near him and wouldn't want to kick him off unless he screws up royally. Mike: "The Miz is back, baby!" And sadly, he says that in his busted-ass Rock voice. By the way: thank you, Mike, for opening the door to BMP cast members having alter egos. At least I can tell Landon and MJ apart now, since MJ is the one who gets drunk and calls himself "Muja Star." Thanks a load, Mizanin. Oh, and the guys lead, 18-14.

Nine-Card: Sophia vs. Theo. "I just want to put this broad down," Theo interviews, "send her to the graveyard. Not only do I hope to hit her once, I hope to hit her eight times." Bad enough that he says all that, but he says that about Sophia, who is one of the mellowest cast members. Try saying that to Coral's face, swamp rat. Sadly, Theo does tag Sophia, running the guys' lead to 27-14.

Ten-Card: Rachel vs. Chris. He gets her in the arm and whoops it up. Guys lead, 37-14.

Jack: Ruthie vs. Dan. Finally, a battle of Challenge legends. Jonny fires his gun and Dan proceeds to crouch down while shooting. Hey, he does stay within the circle, so I don't have a problem. Dan wins, and the guys lead, 48-14.

Queen: Angela vs. Brad. Jonny expositions that the women have to outshoot the guys in the next three showdowns to win the mission. Angela interviews that there's a lot of pressure on her to win.

Back from commercials, Angela and Brad fire at each other. Brad wins, clinching the victory, 60-14. Angela interviews that this was her chance to shine. Arissa adds that the ladies have to finish the mission. She continues, "You compete for your spot to stay on this team between the other leaders."

King: Tonya vs. Eric. God help us, Eric is swinging his jump rope. I want him to take out his eye with one of the handles. Tonya interviews about being nervous and not affording to lose. Both take their shots and connect. Jonny declares the duel to be a draw, with nobody getting points. Eric explains it to Tonya, and she thinks that she's safe.

Ace: Arissa vs. Randy. Jonny tries to talk it up, but comes across as a drunkard trying to impersonate a cowboy. It's not enough to make me wish for Dave Mirra, though. Randy wins, and the final score has the guys winning, 74-14. "I tried," Arissa interviews. "I don't know what else to do."

Saloon. Jonny gives the win to the guys, as well as the gift certificates. He goes over the Inner Circle: the three male leaders pick off a guy, the ladies get to send one of their leaders home. We get shots of Shawn and Nick, as if we didn't see the end coming already. Ibis interviews that Tonya should go home. "Angela should be given a break," she continues, "until she does something that is legit and she should go home then." So Angela has to do good before getting kicked out? That could take forever. Coral interviews that she hopes Angela goes home.

Boys' Inner Circle Meeting. Eric thinks the vote comes down to Shawn and Nick. He points out that Nick has two losses (Bombs Away and High Noon) and has never led the team. In fact, Nick is the only guy not to step up as leader. Eric: "That's not a guy you want." Back at the Main Lodge, Nick sweats it out, thinking Shawn might be below him in competition. Sure enough, Brad notes that during Bombs Away, Shawn was barely snacking on his onion. Randy adds that Shawn has gone first twice in missions. Eric thinks both are on thin ice. Oh, the suspense is just nudging me.

Girls' Inner Circle Meeting. Rachel thinks that even though Angela stepped up this time, she should go since Tonya hit Eric. Ibis thinks that Tonya's hit did nothing for the team. At the Main Lodge, Tonya figures it's down to her and Angela. She interviews, "I think it's going to come down to how many people you earned respect from in the house." Angela hopes that the girls keep things fair. "If that's the case," she adds, "I think Tonya will be going home." Keep thinking that, Angela. Back at the Girls' Lodge, Coral says that Angela hasn't impressed her. Veronica votes for Angela, as does Aneesa, who figures she might hate herself for it.

Elimination Hill. Jonny asks the guys for their decision. Eric comes up, jump rope wrapped around his head. He says that the Inner Circle based their decision on past performance. In other words: it's Shawn. Shocker, I know. Shawn gets hugged by his teammates, then goes into his farewell speech: "THIS IS A RACIST-ASS GAME! ALL Y'ALL IS RACIST! I HATE YOU! I'M GONNA BLOW UP YOUR HOUSES! BLACK POWER!" Not bad... everybody laughs, and he just did a great impression of Dave Chappelle. He gets serious, saying that he felt like it was his time. He wishes the guys luck, and he salutes the women.

Ibis comes up to make the announcement for the women. She says that it was a tough decision. Our bootee? Angela. One episode too late, but a good boot nonetheless. She interviews that there was no fair way to play the game, and now she wants to speak her peace. "I heard people thought I wasn't psychologically ready for the game," she tells her team, "and I think that's just basically saying that I'm not a bitch and I don't backstab people, because that's what the game is about and it sucks." Upon further reflection, I think this is basically Angela saying that she's "too punk rock" for this show. Of course, I'd rather hang with Frankie than with Angela. Then again, I'd hang with Frank over Robin and Cameran, but that just might be me. The girls laugh and cheer Angela's speech, as Tonya and Tina remain silent. Angela continues, saying that she learned that she needs to be tougher, and that she doesn't expect everybody to like her. She adds, "I don't know if you guys are like this in real life. I hope not." Okay... she gets a point for that. Frank interviews that he's so proud of her because she said what everybody was thinking.

Sunset. Shawn says his goodbyes to the guys. He interviews that he trusts the guys, and he thinks the game was played fair. Note to BMP: more normal people! Less Veronica, more Msaada! Angela and Frank rock on the hammock. She interviews that he's a genuine person, and she'll continue to be friends with him. "I spoke my mind," she goes on. "It made me feel better about walking down the hill." Shawn and Angela get their stuff loaded up and say their final goodbyes. Rachel: "Angela was just a drama queen. She became a burden. Angela's gone, and I think that the team, as a whole, is a lot stronger now." True words... but look at the source. Want to know the difference between Rachel and Veronica? Veronica has proven herself to come back from being eliminated. Rachel hasn't. Right now, she has the top spot on my "Must Go" list, and I will be eagerly awaiting her departure. Angela hugs Ruthie. "Good speech," Ruthie says. "Wish you could have said more." Wonder what she meant by that?

Next week: Coral thinks that the others figure she's buddied up with Rachel and Veronica. Katie: "I am not scared of them. I'll take them all on." Coral then calls out Aneesa and Katie... at least, that's what the editing wants you to think The mission? Something like worms. Lots of worms. And something clinging to the crotch of Arissa's shorts. It's gonna be a long half-hour. 

Happily, Angela never came back. I know, that sounds mean, but absence makes a hater wonder what all the loathing was about. Remember Ellen? I figured she'd come back after a superb performance in Battle Of The Sexes, and I wound up missing her. Here is Angela's IMDB page; the only thing I remember seeing her in was an edition of Epic Rap Battles of History, playing Cleopatra against Marilyn Monroe.(here's the behind-the-scenes clip). Sadly, she was recently diagnosed with breast cancer.

Shawn? I have little clue. Here's his Instagram. As 2019 approaches, he will be on a Semester at Sea boat along with his fellow cast members from the eighth edition of Road Rules to celebrate their twentieth anniversary. I don't remember the cabin prices, but I'm pretty sure that doesn't include any loose money that would magically disappear when Veronica passes you by.

I just realized I was hard on Rachel. I stand by that. I'm good with her now because she hasn't gone back to suckle on the BMP teat . . . as opposed to her RR: Campus Crawl cast member Shane, who not only has been bitchier than in his first few seasons back in the day, but still hasn't won a title. Basically, he's Homer Simpson looking for that Employee of the Month award. And Sarah Greyson is the inanimate rod.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Battle of the Sexes 2 Episode 6: Hope Floats

When you read these recaps from the past, I want you to keep something in mind in case you haven't already: I was totally thinking of things at that moment. At no point was I projecting into the future beyond the following season. At no point would I think of where the series would be fourteen years into the future: an utter, utter shitshow. Even for The Challenge, Final Reckoning was a disaster. There was virtually no way there could have been a happy ending. And we got the most miserable finale possible: Hunter and Ashley wind up lucking into a win, Ashley getting a chance of denying her partner of $500,000 . . . and she elected to go for it. We left the season with Hunter cursing out Ashley, Ashley trying to spin her decision as empowerment (as if Sarah would love her forever for doing to Hunter what Johnny did to her), Joss ripping into Paulie for going back on his word not to screw him and Sylvia at a key point (to be fair, Natalie did insist on that, and that was more important than him swearing on his family), and Cara Marie & Marie -- who were supposed to be the feel-good story of the season -- taking turns torching their friendship after they finished fourth.

Cut to 2004. I was a few months past the finale of Road Rules: X-Treme . . . a season so dogshit, it basically killed the franchise. Angela was the second substitute that season, after the team screwd up a mission and they drew names to see who would leave have to leave (Kina). I dimly remember being really annoyed with her, particularly her infatuation with resident alpha asshole Patrick (I thought Derrick would be that season's pain in the ass. Live and learn.) And then Jillian dropped in to replace Ibis, and that made things worse. Basically, if you wanted positives from X-Treme, all you really had was Derrick, X the X-Treme puppy that got adopted by the team, and the mission where the Roadies took turns getting tackled by German Shepherds.

And then there was Cynthia. Her history went further back than anyone on the women's team: Real World: Miami (1996). Sure, there were a lot of highlights that season, like to roommates being nudged into a business venture, Dan and Flora ripping into each other, comically-undersized Joe (an ancestor to Jay from RW: X-Plosion) and his tall girlfriend, and the threesome between Mike, Melissa, and a waitress named Melody (remember, this was 1996!) Cynthia also stood out as funny, with her snark, dragon-like fingernails, and tendency to use the word "hella." Back when I was posting on the Television Without Pity forums, I rigged up a "March Madness" style tournament of cast members from the first twelve seasons (New York-Las Vegas). Cynthia won that, defeating her roommate Sarah (blonde tomboy who was working with Wildstorm Comics at the time, so you know I liked her) in the final match. To me, Cynthia was awesome. Angela was not. And then this episode happened.
Oh, and my family had a dog named Cynthia. Totally unrelated. Basic brown mutt. Remind me to tell you about the time with her and the possum.

Episode Aired: November 8, 2014
Recap Posted: November 14,2014 

This week, the teams build boats out of junk. Can Angela rebound from a disastrous decision, or will the ladies send her packing?
Previously on Battle of the Sexes: Derrick came a-calling with the booze, and that didn't make a good impression on his team. But he rebounded nicely, winning Dangle Drop for the boys. Dan admires how long he hung onto the bag. Huh… we haven't thought of the Frog Whisperer in a long time. Wonder if he's going home tonight. The girls lost Bombs Away, dropping their record to 0-4. The boys booted Abram, while the ladies kicked out Ayanna. Let's let her get in one last rant, shall we? "I ALWAYS! HAVE! PEOPLE'S BACKS!" And Apex thought Stacie J. was insane? Ruthie interviews that the girls feel like crap. "We're playing like a team," she goes on, "but at the same time, it doesn't really feel like we're a team.”

Let's get physical! The guys work out in the exercise room. Eric jumps rope, and he really needs to lose it. "It's a big ol' cornucopia of dudes," Theo drawls. "If this was a pasta, it would be Testosteroni." Thanks for sharing. Derrick walks in with two empty bottles. He interviews that he drinks every day, but he doesn't feel the pressure of being sent home since he's gaining respect. Apparently, he doesn't feel the pressure of anvils crushing him. Eric interviews that Derrick is a tough competitor, but he is a loose cannon. Eric wears the jump rope around his neck like a scarf. Enough, man. Let it go.

Elsewhere, the girls lie around, lamenting their winless record. Robin blahs that she would be cocky with four wins, and she's sick of the guys winning. Katie: "Boys are bubbleheads." Cut to a flashback of Mark breaking a stick on Eric's leg. What was that about? Rachel figures that when the guys lose to girls, it makes things much sweeter. "I have no idea what we need to do to win," Robin interviews. "We just need to win, bottom line."

In the bedroom, Angela and Frank talk. My heart sinks, since Frank was the closest thing to a favorite I had on The Real World: Las Vegas, and he's bonding with a ten-car pileup of a woman. Sure, he was attracted to Trishelle right off the bat, but we didn't know how bad she would be back then. Angela goes on about how she's stuck with people who don't like her, and that Frank gives her attention. Speaking of people who don't like Angela, we got a herd of them in the kitchen, talking smack behind her back. Shane: "She's not here. She hates this house." Tonya: "Try to be part of the group, why don'tcha?" Coral interviews that Angela is a competitor. "We need cutthroat women that can back it up," she continues, "and she's not that."

Coral reads the clue from the sponsor phone. Outside, Mike also reads: the mission requires great teamwork and patience. Coral reads that the players have to be ready to depart at 9 a.m. and to wear bathing suits. The ladies groan, and Coral tries to reply to the message. "We've been getting our asses kicked," Cynthia interviews. "It's about time we actually won."

Daytime. Conchiti Lake. Jonny welcomes the players to today's mission: Junk Boat. We get a look at a big pile of junk, most of which could help in the creation of a boat. Nick lays down the exposition: the leaders on each team pick one item at a time and bring it back to a "build zone." The teams go back and forth, until they decide there's enough material to start building. Remember the boat-building task in Celebrity Mole: Hawaii? Same idea. [2018: Dead link] It's a shame Corbin Bersen couldn't be brought in as the Super Veiny Mission Mayor. Jonny stresses that the players cannot build the boats until all the materials are picked up. There's a close-up of Derrick. You think something will go wrong with him? Steve expositions that seven people from each team will row the boat around the buoys and back, then the remaining players do the same. Today's winnings get a seven-day trip to Mykonos in Greece. Damn, why couldn't Jacquese still be playing? I'd love for the locals to mistake him for Nelly again. Jonny gives both teams the usual thirty minutes to pick leaders.

On the ladies' side, Robin steps up to lead. Coral asks Angela about her puzzle-solving abilities. Angela admits she has no real ideas on how to perform the task. Coral: "So, I'm thinking you're good at puzzles? I dunno, that's just my thought." It's hard to tell if Coral is being honest or manipulating Angela into a trap. "If we lose this mission," Veronica interviews, "maybe I want Angela to go and be a leader, so she can go home." Man, I hate when I'm on the same page as Veronica. Ruthie volunteers, as does Angela, who interviews about feeling "peer-pressured" into it..

Steven drops the three leaders on us: Mike, Derrick and Randy. Derrick plots out the boat construction, interviewing about feeling like he's a great leader. Sadly, the guys can't understand his way of thinking. "Derrick is a great competitor," Steven interviews. "He's young and he's excited, but he really doesn't make any sense."

Back at the girls' meeting, Angela announces that she is clueless, and she wants somebody to replace her as leader. Rachel: "I realize now that not only has she annoyed me outside of the game, but she's annoyed me inside of the game, and she needs to go." Remember what I said about agreeing with Veronica? Same goes for Rachel.

After commercials, Angela tells her teammates that she feels everything is going too fast. Veronica decides to replace her. She interviews, "I spoke without even knowing what I was getting myself into." Angela feels like the other players wanted her to lead in order to sabotage her.

The teams present their leaders. The girls do a cheer: "Let's go to Greece!" I guess Robin worked them into a frenzy, since she went there during her season. Jonny suggests to the players that they not touch the junk once it has been chosen, and that he will disqualify anybody who builds before collecting. Cut to Derrick, tossing a ball up and down.

Jonny blows his airhorn to start the mission. Ruthie grabs an oar, earning the jeers of the men. Mike interviews that they can use anything in the pile as an oar. Tina calls the guys “idiots,” and we cut to Derrick holding on to a toilet seat cover. Tough break from the ladies; they could’ve replaced the covers that Abram took away. The guys cheer as their leaders bring in a big board. Ruthie snags another oar, while Randy picks out a plastic case. Both sides pick wooden boards.

Suddenly, Coral points out Derrick messing with the items. Sure enough, he’s trying to fit a small piece of pipe on a larger piece, and that is the same as building. Mark interviews that Derrick is a leader, and he should have known all of the rules. Jonny makes the men skip a turn, and the ladies pick out two of what Derrick was examining. The guys are ticked, and Coral declares that her team is done selecting. The girls start duct-taping, while the guys finish collecting.

Both teams frantically build their vessels. “It’s kinda like automatic pilot,” Ruthie interviews. “Everyone starts doing something, and it all just seems to fall in place.” Eric interviews that his team needs a big boat to make up for the weight difference. As the teams build, we hear some bizarre barbershop quarter/sea shanty hybrid in the background. The ladies float their boat, which is basically a board on tubes. Their first seven players get on, using the oars to row. Coral shouts at Angela to row harder, interviewing that she’s barely paddling. Sure enough, Angela is barely putting her oar in.

The guys take their boat out, using two-by-fours to paddle. “I feel like we’re Noah’s Ark,” Theo interviews, “only on our ship, we gathered two of every kind of idiot.” From the beach, Mark and Chris yells contradicting rowing instructions to their teammates. The ladies finish their first heat, and their second seven start out. Steven thinks that his team isn’t that far behind. But the girls are far ahead, and they win, prompting a huge celebration. Mark rows in, sour-graping that he hates Greece anyway. “They’re going to Greece,” he interviews, “which sucks because I’ve never been to Greece. [pause] Bitches.” Cheer up, “Cruiser.” I’m sure you could go with your new Extreme Dodgeball buddies. Rachel gloats about the win before she gets ugly. Well, uglier. “Bye bye, Angela!” she hisses to the camera. “See ya in Greece, but I won’t see you here anymore!”

The girls are still giddy about their prize – which Tina calls the best of the bunch so far – as Jonny wraps things up. He reminds the ladies that their three team leaders will pick somebody to go home, while the men’s team will send one of the three leaders off.  Mike interviews that Derrick won the first mission and the trip to Cancun for the guys. He adds, “There’s no way they’re going to take Derrick out over me.” Derrick feels that it’ll come down to him and Mike, and that the guys might take his mental flub into consideration. As Angela yammers on her cell phone, Ruthie interviews that Angela feels a lot of votes will be cast against her. “I don’t really think there is a lot of basis for that,” Ruthie continues. “I don’t think it’s really fair. It’s not a popularity contest, but sometimes it is.”

Meanwhile, Frank tells Angela that when and if he leaves, he’d want to be friends with everybody. He then urges her to socialize with her teammates. Match, meet gas. Angela feels that nobody is on her side except for Frank, and that she’s going home. She adds, “If evil prevails, I don’t want to be a part of the game anyway.” Shut up, Angela. This is my fourth season recapping the Challenge, and I’m still doing it. After a while, you get used to evil prevailing

Boys’ Inner Circle Meeting. Eric reminds us that this is the first time to a team leader has to go home. Mark feels that it’s between Mike and Derrick, with Randy not being an option. He adds that Mike has had a disqualification and he lost his Bombs Away match. On the other hand, Derrick lost Bombs Away as well, and got penalized today. Steven: “if we’re voting off Mike, the Miz, or Derrick, the Miz would stay. I haven’t seen the Miz.” Do we really need Mike’s lame wrestling persona, Steven? Don’t tempt fate, man. Theo: “There were moments on the beach where I didn’t know if Derrick was some dude who wandered over from an AA meeting, or he was a leader on our team.” Shawn adds that being a leader and not knowing the rules raises a flag in his head. Theo openly wonders who would have his back in the end.

Girls’ Inner Circle Meeting. The ladies go over the boot list. Coral? Fine. Ibis? Fine. Cynthia? Red flag. We get a flashback of her talking to the team: “If I don’t ever want to be a leader, I don’t ever have to be a leader. If I don’t ever feel comfortable with being a leader, I’m not going to be a leader, and that should be the end of it.” Suddenly, I start to feel queasy. Robin interviews that she feels like that’s not being a team player. Veronica figures there are stronger players. Tonya? Fine. Angela? Ruthie feels that Angela is a good performer. Veronica doesn’t feel that Angela brings a lot to the team. Robin says that Angela thinks the others are out to get her.

Cut to Angela talking on the cell phone to persons unknown, whining about how the others don’t like her. If I wanted to recap Road Rules: X-Treme, I would’ve done that already. “Maybe I’m too nice to be in this game,” she deludes. “Maybe I’m not mean enough to win a game like this.” Cry me a river. Five-to-one says that she’ll declare herself “too punk rock” by the time she gets voted out. She continues, “Those [bleepin’] bitches are sitting in their seats laughing right now, because I’m going home, exactly what they wanted since day one.”

Cut to the Inner Circle walking to Elimination Hill. Robin doesn’t want issues in the house. Ruthie feels that they’ve reached a fair decision. “I want a happy home,” Robin declares. “I don’t want to go home to some [bleepin’] drama.”

Elimination Hill. Jonny calls on the guys to reveal their decision. Dan steps up, saying that the team didn’t want to make the decision. They based their choice on disqualifications, performance and leadership. The choice? Derrick. Once again, Mike wriggles off the hook. Derrick looks pain, but Dan hangs on to him, singing his praises. “He has no filter,” Dan proclaims, “between his heart, his mind, his actions, his words. I’ve known this kid for two weeks, and look at me!” Man, I love Dan. Derrick can barely look at anybody, and Dan’s trying to cheer him up. Derrick interviews that he’s hurt, and that he figured enough people saw him in action. “I know it’s a game,” Derrick interviews, voice cracking, “but it just hurts sometimes.”

Jonny calls up the ladies’ Inner Circle. Ruthie says that they wanted to make their decision based on “competition and contribution.” Robin picks it up, saying that this based the pick on disqualification and those not stepping up as leaders. Bottom line: Cynthia goes home. Immediately, Tina trashes the choice, starting a chain reaction of mutinous talk. Coral feels that it’s a horrible decision. “Cynthia has contributed not only to our missions,” Coral adds, “but to our sanity.” With a group like that, a den mother is most definitely required. To her credit, Cynthia keeps the peace, saying that the Inner Circle made their decision, and that she’s okay with it. The team applauds, probably in awe over Cynthia’s coolness. Angela interviews she’ll be getting to know Frank, but it hurts that everybody wanted her to go home. Ruthie: “Angela’s got a lot more fire than she puts out.  A lot of people underestimate her.” It’s not Ruthie’s fault; I’m guessing that Angela’s season was still playing at the time of this Challenge. Ruthie adds that she would have loved to keep Cynthia, but she wanted what was best for the team.

Women’s Lodge. Insurrection. Aneesa declares this to be the worst decision made. Cynthia brings up her statement on leadership, stressing that she won’t take it back. Aneesa insists Cynthia shouldn’t be going home. “Those three bitches need to get a realization!” Tina blows up to nobody in particular. “They wanna play the game grimy, let’s [bleepin’] play the game grimy!” Aneesa feels that a pattern has been set. Tina: “They knew that there were better calls to be made, but they went with it anyway.”

Over at the Men’s Lodge, the team drinks in Derrick’s honor, trying to reassure him. “Losing a player like Derrick is hard,” Randy interviews, “because he has so much heart and so much will to win. That inspires the rest of the team.” Derrick thinks going home sucks, but he’s learned so much from his teammates. As flawed as he might be, I think Derrick has a lot of promise in whatever he does. At least he’s not Patrick, I can say that much.

Cynthia says her goodbyes. “There is no reason why you guys need to keep me here to jeopardize the rest of the team,” she interviews. “If I’m the weakest link, then let me go.” She tells the girls, “See you bitches in Greece.” She interviews that she knows the girls will win, and she hopes they’ll make the right choices and “have the right ladies win.” So long, Cynthia. You’ll always be hellacool to me.

New day. The ladies play Tuesday Morning Quarterback. Robin explains that she didn’t want to make it personal. She points to Angela, saying that if the team had lost, she would have been sent packing. I’d like to think Veronica would have been booted instead. Robin says that she doesn’t think Angela performed bad in the last mission. Coral asks about Cynthia’s choice of not leading  factoring into the decision, then declaring it as “whack.” “She stepped up and then stepped down,” Coral adds. “That’s worse than never stepping up!” I wonder what Donald Trump would have done to Angela if she flip-flopped like that on The Apprentice. Nothing I can print here, that’s for sure. Veronica points out the lack of a points system, then says that the decision came between making the right choice and making everybody happy. Coral: “Then make everyone happy next time!” Sophia feels that half the team wanted to make things personal, and the rest wanted to base the decision on performance. “Winning this mission is the downfall of our team,” she interviews. “This so-called ‘semi-unity’ we have is now diminished.” Aneesa repeats that the decision set a tone, and that she’ll remember it. Tina: “There’s a grimy underground tune that’s going on right now. And I feel it, and I don’t like it one bit.” Quick shots of the ladies, ending with Tonya holding her head and Arissa shaking hers. Fade to credits.

Did the Girls’ Inner Circle goof up? In my opinion, yes they did. From watching her season, I can safely say that Angela is a black hole who gives nothing but bad vibes. She’s not an aspiring heroine in the mold of Sarah and Katie. Remember her last mission on X-Treme? I’m convinced that the producers fudged things in order for her teammates to get their “Handsome Reward,” since she got too close to blowing it. At the moment, Angela is on top of my Pyramid of Hatred. Right below her are Rachel and Veronica, both of whom have a lot to answer for their shenanigans in past Challenges. Below them are veterans, most of whom have overstayed their welcome: Aneesa, Coral, Ruthie, Tina and Tonya. At the bottom are the newbies: Arissa, Ibis, Robin and Sophia. I’ll drop Katie to the bottom, since she’s been good so far. Cynthia might have changed her tune about not leading, but we’ll never know now. I’m just upset that somebody as fun to watch as Cynthia had to leave, and Angela got to stay.

Next week: Frank walks with Angela. “She won’t tell you this,” he tells an unseen person, “but we did have sex just now.” Oh, Frank. Angela interviews that he is there for her. Great, now I’m hoping Jillian would pop by and flirt with Frank, just to see Angela’s reaction. Jonny introduces the mission as a “good old-fashioned showdown.” Players shoot each other with paintballs. And once again, Mike stands in front of the firing squad. Drop the hammer, guys! Get it over with!

My hatred seems downright quaint, doesn't it? For God's sake, I probably forgot about Angela sucking wind the instant Beth Bethed back into my life in Inferno II.

We know Derrick's story . . . he becomes a regular, suffering tough lose after tough loss, finally winning with the Bad Asses team in Inferno 3 after replacing CT, who had gotten ejected for punching Davis before the first mission. Derrick would also win in The Island and The Ruins, getting on my bad side to the point where I made jokes about his height on the forums similar to Theo's cheap shot in Fresh Meat. But I'm good with Derrick now. Better to be "Wee Dee" than "Other Derrick"/"Shit The Bed Derrick" from Are You The One?

Oh, and sometime before or during this season, GSN was airing Extreme Dodgeball. Mark was on the Reef Sharks team, and his nickname was "Cruiser." That seemed easy enough a target for me, as Mark started to fade from the decent guy I had seen in the past.