In retrospect, this might have been the last great Challenge moment for me while recapping on a semi-major site. After Inferno came Battle Of The Sexes 2, which was downright brutal to watch. Needless to say, I will reminisce in great detail when I start reprinting the recaps here. I will say that the confrontation was worth the wait, even as it had been hyped before the season officially started. In the span of The Gauntlet and The Inferno, Veronica did not get any sort of comeuppance for being a total bitch. Sarah had basically worked through whatever feelings she had towards those on the Road Rules team that wanted her gone. She went out a winner. Sure, she got as big of a share as Veronica, Adam and Rachel (and, seriously, when was she ever worth the admiration we give to the likes of Laurel and Emily today?), but she didn't bite anybody's head off. The Road Rules team of Inferno was far worse. Sure, we expected nothing less from the likes of Veronica and Abram, but Holly and Christena turned out to be heinous bitches as well, which was so disappointing. But for a few minutes, the worst of the worst got what was coming to her. And it was glorious.
Airdate:May 17, 2004
Recap Published: May 24, 2004 (either I really took my time, or resources were spent covering the Survivor: All-Stars finale)
Veronica makes Katie angry. You wouldn't like Katie when she's angry. Plus: the final Inferno.
MTV is up to its old tricks. They hype an "event" starting at 6 PM, which is just the start of reruns. Then they aired a one-hour clips show with zero new material. Memo to the powers that be: nobody cares, and David is not a rookie. He was on Challenge 2000. He tried to chase down a cow in order to kiss it, among other things. Then MTV hyped the finale... except it wasn't a finale, but rather the final Inferno event. If you want clips set to different music and a shot of Julie mud-wrestling Jamie back in New Orleans, watch the clips show. If you want the facts (or at least the on-camera representation), check out my recaps.
Previously on The Inferno: Veronica and Katie fight during the Leah/Kendal Inferno. Voiceover Lady fails to mention that Veronica dragged Katie into her fight with Mike. Coral got angry when her teammates wouldn't let her choose Katie over Veronica. CT: "If they lose Katie, then we lose Katie." Yeah, because she's hurt her team so bad, they've only won $110,000. Coral tells her team that they'd be sorry to push her. RR won the last mission, and Dave handed out Aztec Lifesavers to Inferno nominees Veronica and Coral. For Veronica, it's a chance to once again bully Katie. Coral contemplated which poor bastard she'll send in her place.
Nighttime at the Villa. Coral clutches the Lifesaver. "Some times," she smiles, "I like to pick up things and do that dance! And do that dance!" She then goes into a side kicking fury, reminiscent of the style of Tom Buchanan. She expositions that the Lifesaver guarantees a spot in the final mission.
Outside, some of the players eat dinner. Veronica reminds us that she won the Lifesaver. Christena wants to celebrate "ladies not going to the Inferno." Coral toasts with Holly. Today's theme: Coral hangs out with people that make her look worse than before. It's one thing to be a bitch, but it's another to hang out with members of the Axis of Ass. CT interviews that Veronica is going to send Katie into the Inferno.
Cut to inside, where Katie tells Kendal that she's mad. Katie interviews that she has the right to be pissed off. "She’s chickened her way out of the Gauntlet going to that," she adds, "and she's chickened her way out of the Inferno. Every single girl on our team has gone now except for her. Veronica's just an evil bitch, bottom line." Kendal laughs in her interview, wondering if the fighting will ever stop. Katie wonders if she should pack, but decides against it. Whimsical music plays as Katie uses Timmy's deodorant, since he uses her razor on his face. Soon, her armpits are on fire, and a hysterical Kendal finds out that Katie used Ben Gay. "Why do they make it look like deodorant in Spanish?" Katie laughs as she tries to quell the fires. "I hate Mexico!"
Coral enters a room, as Mike lies down. She expositions that she can elect somebody to take her place. She tells Mike that he pissed her off, interviewing that he should have had her back. But she decides not to send him in.
Instead, she asks Christena on the whereabouts of David. Christena points him out, pointing out the different-colored eyes again. I wish I could do this. I'd refer to Christena as "The girl who was nice on her season, but makes me choke on my bile today." Coral interviews that she's sending David in because he deserves it. "I'm gonna tell him ahead of time," she adds, "but I'm gonna wear a helmet." She lets him know that she's not doing in out of spite, and they shake on it. "I knew she was gonna pick me off the bat," David interviews. "I would've picked her. I kinda wanted to see her leave the show the whole time." Personally, I would've picked between David and Syrus, on account of their bodies getting easily banged up, and Mike and CT already winning Infernos. I figure David gets the nod from Coral since he was bailed out of the Inferno twice, and Syrus was Coral's only ally last week.
Inferno site. Katie sees a clear box filled with water and fish heads. Already, David threatens to kill Coral. He interviews, "I really would love to throw Coral off the staircase right now." Veronica and Coral cackle about not having to suffer. Shut up, the both of you. Katie smiles a little.
Dave welcomes everybody to the final Inferno: “Smell Ya Later.” The objective: outlast the competition by enduring disgusting smells for four hours. Have I mentioned how much I hate time-limit endgames? The winner gets to compete in the final mission, the loser will, in Dave's words, "not be able to get a whiff of any of that cash in the bank." See, we got smells, and he said "whiff" and… never mind. The glass coffins are filled with fish heads. Every half-hour for the first 90 minutes, another layer of foul-smelling stuff will be added to the coffins. If both players are still around after four hours, they go to sudden death. Whoever can hold their breath the longest wins. Dave asks Coral who she'll send in her place. She gives David a good send-off, adding that she wishes she could go. Sure you do, Coral. Of course, Veronica shoves Katie in her slot. Dave takes the players away for a rules briefing. "I hope David sends her home," Veronica interviews. "If he doesn't, then so be it. Not everything can come true for me."
Both players prepare to go into the coffins. As Katie gingerly touches a fish head on the headrest, Darrell yells and stamps his foot. Very clever, jerk. David and Katie get into the tubs, and Dave bangs the gong to start the Inferno. David laughs, as Katie thinks it's foul. Five minutes pass. Coral doesn't want anybody going to sleep, and David has his eyes closed. Coral is still happy that she's not in the Inferno. "I'm glad it's not me," she interviews, "and I'm glad it's not Veronica, either." Cut to Coral holding Veronica. Coral, do you know how hard it is for me to defend you when you're buddy-buddy with the princess of darkness? Katie took Julie out... that has to mean something to you!
Time remaining: three hours, thirty minutes. Referees place clothes over the players' faces while introducing the first rank item: spoiled eggs. The smell is so bad, even Dave is repulsed. David gags, and Dave reminds him that puking will not result in disqualification.
Time remaining: three hours. The next item: spoiled milk. I dump that stuff out a few days past expiration, so I can't begin to imagine what the lumpy mess smells like. The spectators get a whiff, as Dave tells the referees to throw in another bucket. Katie tells him to shut up. David: "I can just feel the glumps of rotten dairy products going over my cheeks, and I'm like, 'Is this really my life?'" Mike and Holly recoil from the aroma.
Time remaining: Two hours, 33 minutes. Dave announces the final ingredient: two cow tongues and a cow intestine. Kendal wonders why Katie is so calm. Dave tells the players they have two and a half hours left. We fast-forward through that time, as everybody gets bored. Heck, Abram decides to take a siesta. Have I mentioned that I hate… wait, I totally did. Never mind.
Time expires. Dave orders the players to sit up. CT interviews that his pal David is shaking and cold. Sure enough, David's chest is twitching like crazy. Both players put on goggles and noseplugs in order to submerge into the waste. "When it come to sudden death, I'm thinking David gonna win," Darrell interviews. "Katie smokes a pack a day." Cut to Katie coughing. Dave bangs the gong, and both lie on their stomachs, face-first in the water. Kendal tells us that Katie wants her to bang on the glass when she wins. "She's planning on holding her breath," Kendal exclaims, "until she dies!" That's hardcore stuff right there.
Back from commercials, everybody looks in, braving toxic fumes to see who will win. Katie's head shakes. More looking on. Suddenly, David rises from the slime. Game Over. Everybody is shocked. Dave is shocked. Kendal has enough presence of mind to run to Katie and get her out of there. Timmy's mouth is open. As Katie celebrates, Coral tells RR that they can't get rid of her. Timmy's mouth is still open. Seriously, I think Timmy will use his prize money for surgery to get his jaw working again. CT helps clean David off. "What are you going to do?" David laughs in an interview.
Denouement. Dave congratulates Katie on winning the Inferno and going into the final mission. She time, she gets mild applause, including some from Veronica. In an interview, Katie proclaims herself to be the Inferno Queen. I can't wait for the royal summit between Katie and Sarah, Queen of the Gauntlet. Dave wants to hug Katie, but the smell keeps him away. After giving David the "pack your bags" spiel, Dave reminds the remaining players that the final mission is tomorrow morning.
Who wants to see cast members feuding? Let's start with Veronica. "Because Katie won the Inferno tonight, it means we still have Katie, we still have Real World's team mascot - which is going to give them a lot of confidence going into the mission - and plus they have less people to share their money." About that last part... what? Why should she care about RW's total? Then again, why should she care about anybody's money? She's been to so many Challenges, she's probably a millionaire. Katie: "I hate her. That sneaky bitch Verantula." Over on the forums where we [2018; I meant "I"] post, Veronica is called "Klepronica," on account of how she "borrowed" a sweater from Pua and plagiarized Ayanna's paper. "Verantula" is a worthy moniker to such a sad human being. Katie continues: "I've never disliked somebody with as much passion as I dislike her."
Before we get to this season's main event, I should let you guys in on a secret. The big fight took place after the Inferno... the Kendal/Leah Inferno. This is coming from Kendal from her recap. As childish as Katie comes across here, I do not blame her one bit. Sarah didn't snap last season since her inner bitch is probably underfed. Katie doesn't have that problem.
Katie voiceovers that she goes to Kendal's room and she sees "a skank by my side." She continues, saying that Veronica starts talking, and she sees red. Cut to the camera rushing to the room. You know it's urgent when the guy pushes the door, not caring that his hand is in frame. A topless Veronica snaps her head to the camera as Katie works her over verbally. "Hold your [bleepin'] tits, you stupid bitch!" Hoo boy. Katie screams for Veronica to shut up and not to mess with her. Drop your f-bombs accordingly. "Once again - YEAH, LAUGH, YOU [bleepin'] WHORE! LAAAAUGGGHH!!!" The way Katie screams that out, I want it on a t-shirt. She flashes double birds, screaming "slut" and "whore." Veronica: "I am think the girl is clinically insane." Yeah, and you've been screwing with her, so how sane are you?
Katie yells about how she was talking to Kendal, then flames on Veronica some more. Mike is in the doorway, cracking the hell up. Katie: "YOU ARE A SHORT! SCRAWNY! ACNE-FACED LITTLE [bleep] [bleep] [bleep]! AND YOU CAN GO [bleep] YOURSELF!" Now Syrus is in the doorway, and he's having fun with this. Katie screams for Veronica to step up to her. Christena starts pushing Katie away, as Veronica advances, holding her bare chest, screaming "What do you want me to do?" over and over. Mike manages to maneuver past Veronica and Christena, taking Katie away as she still screams and flips the bird. Damn, this made my season.
In another room, Mike sternly tells Katie to calm down. She snorts and smiles, and he hugs her. I'm not sure whether Mike actually cares at this point, or if he wants to protect her so she can weigh her team down. Katie wants to hit Veronica, but Mike points out that she would go home. "I really don't like that girl at all," Katie laughs in an interview. "I want to call her out… in… screw a few more cast members, slut!" If I'm wrong for laughing, then I don't want to be right.
Holly and Coral try to calm Veronica down, as she yells for Katie to keep away from her. Holly: "Veronica snaps, too. I think everybody's reached their breaking point." You think? In the other room, Katie screams to Christena, and Mike shushes her and puts his hand over her mouth. Christena: "These two women hate each other, and it's ugly. They're both in the wrong, they're both of their mind, and they're both on my team." Mike tells Katie that Veronica will try to kick her off, "because she's a little wuss." "Kendal said that she's never seen me like that before," Katie interviews. "You also haven't had an entire team against you for the last thirty days." Katie wants out of the Villa, and Mike makes plans to escort her out.
As Veronica lies down, Coral says that she can't believe this happened. Veronica snipes about how RR has sabotaged missions in order to get Katie out. "She should be lucky that she's still here!" Veronica whines. "She sucks!" Yeah, she's lucky. Lucky to be on a team that treats her like dirt. As much as I don't care for people like Katie, I care for bullies even less, and that makes me care for Katie. If Veronica had the chance to see how bad she looked on The Gauntlet, as she tried to shred Sarah's self-esteem alongside Adam and Rachel, she'd... oh, who am I kidding? She'd still bully Katie. "She's lucky that I can't be physical with her," Veronica interviews, "because I want to slam her face into the ground."
Elsewhere, Katie can't find her favorite bag. She tells Mike that "it might be in the whore's room," then makes an attempt to get it. Mike is no dummy (at least not tonight) as he sternly orders Katie on the bed and gives her a time-out. "These two girls are on our team," Holly interviews, "and we have to work together to win, yet they both would prefer to kill each other." Veronica screeches about how she wants to be hit, so Katie would be sent home and RR would win the final mission. Wow, Veronica's as low as Julie. Such punks. Katie finally gets her bag, sighs, and gets up to leave.
Back from commercials and back to the actual timeline (shhhhhh! It's our secret!), David and CT say their farewells. In his interview, CT looks like he's about to cry. I can imagine a boozed-up Leah yelling at the TV, "He didn't step up, CT! He didn't earn his keep!" CT interviews that it's hard to lose David before the final mission. He tells David to swim home in order to lose the smell. David interviews that he got closer to CT, and he's happy for him. David continues: "When in your life are you going to get a paid vacation in a tropical environment, living in a great house and having three great meals a day? So you have to take the good with the bad." David sails off, and his fans hurt so bad. You don't even know.
Outside the Villa, Christena gets a text message for the final mission. Pick-up time at 2 PM, wearing team colors, shorts, tank tops, socks and tennis shoes.
Morning. Both teams get ready. Kendal tells her teammates that Katie still smells from the Inferno. Holly: "She's gonna to have to stand far away from me!" Oh, I bet Katie would like nothing more. Christena has a sour look. Kendal yuks it up some more about the Infernal stench. Holly interviews that Katie feels tired of being pushed around, and she projects her anger on Veronica. I did not notice that, Holly. "I think there are times Veronica deserves it," she adds. Katie interviews about knowing that her team doesn't want her here. Syrus: "I'm calling up Rent-A-Back right now. I got two rented kneecaps, and an ankle with a kickstand. I'm running to the end." Coral hopes that there will be no spiders. Given that she's the main event, I'm guessing production assistants have stomped out anything with more than two legs. Darrell reminds us that his team has eight people while RW have four, and the mission might favor their smaller number. "Do I think we have a chance of winning?" he asks us. "In my right mind... no." Way to think positive, Darrell.
Mission site. Dave congratulates the players for making it this far, and tells them that they're eligible to share in their teams' bank accounts. One team will add $150,000 to their total. The mission: Seven Deadly Sins. It's a footrace with seven stops, and we get brief clips from the last [2018: I meant "final"] episode:
Lust: The players straddle tubes. That's it. I get flashbacks of Veronica straddling the ladder last year.
Wrath: The players bash piñatas.
Gluttony: The players eat stuff. CT and Darrell blow chunks.
Envy: Something with walking balance beams across kiddie pools and carrying giant puzzle pieces.
Greed: Crawling through nets. I'm guessing money is underneath the nets, in order to slow down needier players.
Pride: The usual puzzle. What, you were expecting the teams to mess up a model's face and glue pills to one hand and a phone to the other?
Sloth: Males carrying females, probably to the finish line. I get happy memories of Adam carrying Sarah around last season. Good times.
Dave adds that some of the stops might remind them of various missions and Infernos. The first entire team to finish wins the $150,000. And now, Katie has the final say. "The $150,000 grand prize? Very nice. Enticing, yes. But to piss off my team is almost more than that to me. That's immature, but it's priceless to me. I want to sit there and piss them off, almost to the point where I'd like to stretch out right before the finish line, because I hate my team with more passion than anybody here has to win this game." This is how bad The Inferno has been: it would take the weakest player on either side throwing the final mission in order to make it a good season. After all the abuse she endured from her teammates, isn't it worth Katie screwing them? It is for me.
Next week: The finale. Piñatas are bashed. Kendal: "This is the crucial moment where we have to work as a team." Holly notes that RW has the lead since they have four players. Katie crawls on the net. Stall, Katie, stall! Puzzle. Mike points out that whichever team takes the puzzle first wins the game. Darrell: "I'm thinking we ain't gonna win, honestly." Dave awards the $150,000 check.
Like I said: epic scene. Seriously, you have to remember there was a time where BMP did everything NOT to get any cameramen in their shots. We wound up with a guy RUSHING to the door, not caring that he had his hand exposed. And thinking about it, I'm not sure Katie would have assaulted Veronica if Mike had not gotten into the mix But for those few minutes, it looked like it could happen. And I was too busy laughing myself sick to really care about Veronica's well-being. Hey, I did that at the beginning of the season, so I didn't have to do it again. And Mike's interference was selfish; he admitted as much in the Inferno II preview special.
Not much else to add. David would return three seasons later in Gauntlet 2 and basically underwhelm. Also, I'm amused that Veronica has not been a huge presence in Vendettas. It's the nature of the series; the longer it lasts, the worse people get. As I type this, her biggest contribution over the past few seasons has been a Twitter beef with Johnny, who . . . well, he doesn't make her look like an outright saint, but he nudges her towards neutral. Seriously, at one point last week, he told her to "Go back to your box of wine. It's getting lonely." Now I'm hoping she takes a chunk out of him at the inevitable Reunion. But she'd probably have to wait in line. Circle of life, I guess.