I really liked this week’s episode of The Duel, and not just because we finally saw our first female Duel day. I liked it because for once, the challenge seemed to be new, interesting, and not ridiculously impossible. Unlike last week’s ladder bridge fiasco, the teams had to square off in something vaguely exciting: a roller derby! It’s what we’ve always dreamed about: bitches on wheels! What more could we ask for?This week’s episode began with Casey fearing that she might be targeted by all the vets. Even though she was no longer a newbie on The Challenge, she was still considered to be Fresh Meat by many. She figured her best bet was to ally with fellow untouchables Svetlana and Paula, thinking that three of them could join forces to become an über-monster that would take out the likes of Jodi and, well, “some other people.” But pretty much just Jodi.
Derrick, meanwhile, told Casey and the Key West girls that “they” (as in, everyone else) would probably be gunning for them next. I liked how he implied that he wasn’t somehow part of the “they” — just a helpless observer, caught in the fickle tides of the veteran ocean. Nevertheless, Derrick wasn’t so sure that Svetlana was going up just yet. “I think Svetlana may be… may be around for a little bit,” he said, which pretty much meant that she’d be gone by the end of the show. Or so I assumed.
Elsewhere in the house, Aneesa and Evan were carrying on a highly academic discussion about trustworthiness and the human condition. Evan marveled, “For a little bit of money and a little bit of fame, people are willing to stab each other in the face!” EXACTLY. That’s why we watch this damn show. In case you haven’t realized, Evan, there’s a whole industry based on people stabbing each other in the face for money. It’s called reality TV. (Although, they more commonly stab in the back, not THE FACE).
Nevertheless, Aneesa totally agreed with Evan’s stunning observation, saying, “Yeah, and I don’t get that.” Clearly Evan and Aneesa were NOT going to stab each other “in the face” just for a little bit of money and some fame. Instead, they were merely going to embarrass themselves and their families on a national stage.
“My pride is worth more than $150,000,” Aneesa then asserted. This would be the same “pride” that led her to pee on camera during The Real World and say numerous idiotic things since then. Chances are that if your pride is worth more than $150,000, you probably shouldn’t be coming on these shows. That being said, PLEASE don’t leave!
The next day, the teams assembled in some sort of facility where a roller skating rink extended as far as the eye could see. Or something like that. Point was, the gang looked like they were about to participate in an old-fashioned roller derby. I liked it already. Sometimes these challenges are so convoluted and crazy that the producers forget that something simple and athletic is the most exciting of all. Nevertheless, as everyone approached the track, Evan feared that it would be the most physical challenge he’s ever been in. More so than that time he had to haul a freakin’ truck in the mud? Your hernia begs to disagree, young Evan.
Anyway, TJ echoed Evan’s sentiments, saying that this custom roller rink was made for “the most brutal challenge in history.” That’s right. This was going to be the most challenging endeavor SINCE THE DAWN OF MAN!!!! Behold, our greatest foe: THE ROLLER RINK!!!
Well, here’s the way this event worked. The derby would be a ten lap battle for survival. The winner would be either the last person standing or the first one to cross the finish line. There would be two four-men heats for the guys and three three-girl heats for the dolls. These would be followed by a championship round for each gender. But wait, there’s more! During the straightaways (or the “action zones”), people could eliminate their opponents by “introducing them to crash pads outside the railings,” ie. wrestling them off the course. However, players could not hold onto the rail, and if they fell off the track, they had only three seconds to get back up before being disqualified. Basically: if you fall down, get up; don’t touch the rails; and don’t get pushed over the side. The female winner would receive immunity from the Duel, but as for the guys, the top dawg would earn a nifty little prize: a BMW MOTORCYCLE. Holy shit! I’m not even a motorcycle guy, but that was crazy! Already we knew that Brad must have had an instant boner, what with his motorcycle fanaticism and all. He had to win this. And don’t think that his rivals were gonna intimidate him. He wasn’t scurred!
Anyway, the first heat included Evan, Brad, Wes, and Kenny. Off the bat, Kenny and Wes dropped out for grabbing the railing and falling off the track respectively. That left just Brad and Evan to vie for first place. Brad carefully trailed Evan the whole way, and then at the last second, he took down his rival, speeding ahead to the finish line and securing a place in the championship round.
For heat two, the remaining guys hit the rink, and after some general tumbles and spills, Nehemiah and Eric wound up ejected thanks to the three-second rule. Soon, Derrick fell victim to the same fate, leaving CT as the sole survivor. “Don’t mess with a man and his bike,” he told us, adding, “OR HIS GIANT HAIR.”
The girls then stepped up next, with their first heat consisting of Beth, Diem and Jodi. About a millisecond into the round, Diem managed to fall over backwards and eliminate herself, leaving just Beth and Jodi to duke it out. I immediately became very excited at the prospect of an all-out girl fight, but this happened to be one of those days where Beth perceived herself to be “above” the fray, and so she smugly told us, “I’m definitely not going to toss anybody over the side. I’m just going to play a nice, clean game.” Or as I like to call it: a nice, BORING game. Boo! Clearly, Beth was afraid of Jodi tossing her over the side instead, and as a result, the two simply skated around lap by lap with Jodi winning uneventfully in the end. TJ was right. This was the most brutal challenge in history!
Next up were Casey, Aneesa, and Paula, and immediately, Aneesa tried to take her opponents out by using her sizable girth. Paula was disqualified after having fallen down for three seconds, and soon, Casey and Aneesa started going at it in the “action zone,” and while Aneesa was certainly the favorite to win, she managed to disqualify herself by grabbing onto the railing. Upset of the century!
Afterwards, Aneesa tried to apologize to Paula for tripping her by yelling out, “PAULA!” To which Paula replied, “WHAT???” Suddenly, a surge of adrenaline coursed through my veins. Was that the sound of Paula Walnuts coming out to play? Alas, it was merely a passing moment of irritation. No insane hysterics emerged. Nevertheless, that didn’t stop me from yelling, “KISS MY ASS, ANEESA!!! KISS MY GODDAMN ROLLER DERBY ASS!!!”
The three remaining girls took the track for the final heat, and off the getgo, Robin was at a major disadvantage — and not just because her center of gravity had been severely undermined by the watermelons on her chest. No, her vintage roller skate had a messed up wheel, which meant she had to take it off and use that foot to push herself along — kind of like a scooter. A scooter with implants. Nevertheless, Robin was soon put out of her misery when she accidentally grabbed the rail, leaving just Kina and Svetlana to battle it out. I thought Kina would hone her inner-Jersey girl and take Svetty down in a heartbeat, but I shouldn’t have forgotten that Russian girls aren’t always known for being pushovers. Sure enough, Svetlana outperformed her rival, winning the heat and landing herself a spot in the final round.
Before we could get to the women’s championship heat, we first had to deal with the men: Brad vs. CT. Confident that he could be wicked dominant in this challenge, CT told us, “It’s gonna come down to who wants it more and how much of a beating he can take right now ’cause I’ll tell you what: I’m gonna be slammin’ his chest in’ta that track so haaahd with my faw-ahm on top of it. I don’t know if he’s gonna be able to get up.”
“I’m gonna rape him wicked hahd.”
Well, CT apparently hadn’t been paying attention the past few seasons because if this were gonna come down to who wanted the bike more, it just had to be Brad. Sure enough, the Bostonian tried to take his rival down with a vicious tackle, causing Jodi to remark, “I’m really scared for Brad that he’s going to die.” Seriously, it’s a roller derby. It’s not like if Brad falls off the track, he lands in a pit of lava. Nevertheless, Brad persevered through CT’s onslaught and managed to take home the victory in the end. What a wicked turn of events!
Next up were Svetlana, Jodi, and Casey. Hey, remember what Casey was saying in the beginning of the episode about joining with the Key West girls to take out Jodi? Well, yeah, forget all that. This was the perfect chance for her and Svetlana to gang up on the Jodster, but instead, they decided to all put up a fair fight. May the best woman win! Unfortunately for them, the best woman was Jodi, who took home the victory and immunity from the Duel. Oops. Maybe you should have reconsidered, Casey.
Anyway, now that the challenge was over, it was time to start the pick ‘em. Just like always, all the vets picked themselves and ultimately, it came down to Eric who had to choose between saving Paula or Svetlana. CT, it should be noted, was not picked by anybody. Looks like somebody didn’t do so well in the wicked popularity contest. Anyway, Paula gestured for Eric to pick Svetlana, and since I was momentarily confused, I thought Paula was actually telling Eric to send Svetty into the Duel. What a bitch! But then I realized Paula merely wanted Eric to save Svetlana from the Duel. Ahhh. So she’s a sweetheart after all. KISS MY ASS!! KISS MY GODDAMN CONFUSED ASS!!
Well, Paula was now heading into the Duel, but who would she take with her? None other than the house diva, Aneesa! TJ then had Ms. Walnuts pick a card, any card, to determine the Duel event, and her selection was… Pole Wrestle! Didn’t know what it was, but it sounded enticing — and just a bit naughty.
Moments later, Aneesa complained to us about being sent into the Duel. You see, when Paula picked her, she made a little offhand joke about having to redeem herself after Aneesa had tackled her on the track. WELL! Aneesa wasn’t about to take that! She carped to us, “I think it’s a lame excuse to say ‘Oh, since I tackled her.’ I was playing the game!” Yeah, and Paula was playing the game too. Deal with it.
As everyone then shuffled out of the roller derby arena, Aneesa continued to stew about why she was picked. Paula tried to diffuse the situation by saying she was gonna take Aneesa into the Duel anyway and that the comment about the tackle was just “a thing,” but for whatever reason, this spurred a rant from Aneesa about not trusting people or whatever. It made no sense, and like most things coming out of Aneesa’s mouth, it was just a lot of noise without any real import.
We then headed over to the Duel where we saw a pole standing in the middle of a circle. Before even learning the rules, we knew Paula was going to lose. I mean, the challenge had the word “wrestle” in it, and last time I checked, Aneesa was about ten times heavier than Paula. Anyway, the rules were pretty simple. The girls would start on their knees, place their hands on the pole, and then try their hardest to wrestle it out of each other’s hands. Like I said before, Paula had no chance whatsoever.
The producers tried to throw some misdirection our way as Svetlana optimistically said, “I’m feeling really confident for Paula because Paula’s really frickin’ strong.” You know, just because someone’s strong doesn’t mean they can wrestle with a Mac Truck.
Sure enough, as the event began, Aneesa thrashed Paula around like an old rag doll. Actually, “rag doll” is too quaint an image. Think of it more like the T. Rex snatching up the wee velociraptor at the end of Jurassic Park. Nevertheless, the girls continued to tumble around, with Paula and Aneesa alternately popping on screen in a silly frame to offer their own play-by-plays. It was all very iMovie.
Surprisingly, Paula did manage to hold on for a long time. At 5:47 in, she was still clutching that pole with all her energy. Maybe she was going to win this after all. As for Aneesa, she was getting tired and frustrated — in deep need of some water or at least a cupcake. However, at around eight minutes in, she managed to summon up one last spurt of power, and just like that, she wrestled the pole out of Paula’s hands. “I want it more!” Aneesa seethed as she left Paula lying in the dirt, utterly exhausted. It seemed obnoxious, but to be fair, Aneesa was referring to a Krispy Kreme donut.
Paula’s not a vampire. PUT THE STAKE DOWN.
Afterwards, Paula got all introspective and stuff, saying/sobbing, “This Duel was between me and myself.” She later added, “KISS MY ASS, SELF!!! KISS MY GODDAMN OWN ASS!!!”
Poor Paula. I really wanted to see her go farther. I did feel really bad for her as she stood up there with TJ and seemed to hyperventilate in classic style. Someone then observed that there’d been three Duels, and three Key West kids had gone home. THANKS, Tyler! (Still bitter about Johnny Bananas, but I suppose Tyler did get his in the end).
What did you think about this episode?