We’re getting to the end. Yes, The Gauntlet 2 is winding down, and on Monday night, the women battled it out one last time for a shot at the final challenge. I entered the episode brimming with optimism: would this be the week we finally say goodbye to Kina? Might Aneesa be forced to shut her yap once and for all? Or would Ibis be carrying her worthless ass out of the Caribbean at long last? Eh… I’ll just let you see how it all played out.The show began with the all too common sight of Randy and Kina talking sweetly to each other. These two have rapidly become one of the more annoying couples to emerge from the Real World/Road Rules pantheon, mostly because they don’t seem to do anything except coo in each other’s ears and cuddle. Anyway, Randy praised his girlfriend, saying, “You’re doing a great job as a leader.” And by “great job,” he surely was referencing the Burn Cara At The Stakes Witch Hunt she stirred up a few weeks ago. Honestly, I wasn’t exactly sure how anyone in the Captain position could really be classified as a great leader. It’s not like the captains do much beyond complain at the top of every show, “My ass is on the line!”
Sure enough, that’s exactly what Kina did as she once again noted how she had to fight for her Gauntlet life and didn’t want to be separated from Randy and how she’d come so far and blah blah blah SHUT UP. I really was hoping a random frying pan might fall on her head, but alas, Kina remained unscathed. “Wouldn’t it be horrible if I had to go home? The last girl Gauntlet,” she marveled. I don’t think it would be horrible. I think it’d be hilarious.
Preparing for a worst case scenario, Randy and Kina analyzed all the Gauntlet options should she be forced to go back in. On the one hand, there was Jillian, who’d be no trouble for Kina in an event like Reverse Tug O’ War. On the other hand, there was Ibis who might pose a significant challenge. Why? “Because of the weight,” Kina said.
“And ’cause you’re friends,” Randy added. Ha! Kina pulled the fat card before the friend card. Some friend YOU are, KINA!
While Randy and Kina continued to exchange eskimo kisses and general nauseating behavior, we headed down to the kitchen where Julie was reading TJ’s clue to the next challenge. “This picture perfect challenge will blindside you,” Julie read. Hmmm… What could that mean? Were the producers going to singe all the kids’ eyes out and then take Polaroids? That’s just cruel, MTV. (But we won’t stop you.)
The next morning, the teams filed into their usual spot at the Port of Trinidad where they found those staples of the Challenge: hanging platforms and metal rafters. Surely this was a bad omen, especially for Ibis, who’s never been known for her high altitude prowess:
Anyway, the teams soon became acquainted with “Blind Trust,” this week’s overly elaborate, highly convoluted exercise. Basically, each member of the team had to cross a balance beam, grabbing two hanging photos along the way. One catch: whoever was on the balance beam would be blindfolded. Oh, actually, second catch: the balance beam had all sorts of little obstacles on it (blocks, ramps etc.). If that wasn’t hard enough, each person had ten minutes to cross, grab the photos, and stick them onto a little wall. If the person proved to have poor equilibrium and fell off the beam (I’m looking at you, Ibis), then the turn would be over and that contestant would be charged the full ten minutes of their turn. There were some other nitty gritty details, but honestly, does anyone even care? I didn’t think so (funny how I ask that question every week).
Up first for the Rookies was Ibis, who fortunately was allowed to cross the beam sans blindfold (the first person for each team had that luxury). Even without any visual impairments, I still expected Ibis to plummet to a watery elimination, but she actually did a fine job, completing her task in just over a minute. On top of that, she did a pretty good job guiding a blindfolded Randy across the beam too. Maybe there was hope yet for Ibby. Eh, probably not.
After Randy was done crossing, he became the “coach,” and he led wee Jillian to the photos she needed to pluck from the ropes. Sadly, because Jillian seems to have no arm muscles whatsoever, she could barely remove the photos from their attachments. Just pull, dammit. Jillian did eventually harness the inner power to remove the pictures, and by the grace of the Challenge gods, made to the destination platform in one piece. You’d think those photo snafus would be Jillian’s low point of the day, but no, she had more ineptitude to share. Alton was up next, and even though I thought he’d just scamper across the beam in about .03 seconds, he actually had difficulties. That was because Jillian’s directions seemed to be something like “Um. Uh.” followed by long stretches of silence. This prompted Superman to repeatedly say, “Talk to me, Jill. Talk to me, Jill.” You’d think his simple request would be one that she could answer, but no, Jillian was a veritable mute. “Talk to me, Jill. Talk to me, Jill.”
“Talk to me, Jill. Talk to me, Jill.”
“Talk to me, Jill. Talk to me, Jill.”
For crying out loud, TALK TO HIM, JILL!!
Things went from bad to worse as Alton began to lose his balance, causing his “Talk to me, Jill’s” to become loud and urgent, as if reciting the line would somehow cause a voodoo spell of proper equilibrium. Eh, I guess it worked because Alton miraculously saved himself from falling off the contraption. Man, if he had fallen after Ibis hadn’t, I would have known that I’d entered some bizarro universe. Anyway, Alton managed to persevere despite Jillian’s silence, and then it was time to guide the Queen B: Kina.
One step onto the balance beam, and Kina was already shaking. Surely, she’d fall. Somebody fall. PLEASE. But alas, Kina got over her nerves and successfully crossed the beam. I was surprised that she didn’t later say, “I couldn’t believe I had nerves. I was so pissed off at my nerves. Plus, Jillian told me that my nerves and Cara had a secret alliance. Not cool, man. Not cool.”
Well, I could sit here all day and tell you about the fascinating ways the Rookies all crossed the beam… or I could bash my head against my desk. Point is, the rest of the team made it across without incident. Special kudos to Jamie who navigated the course in a mere time of 3:25. Actually, no. No special kudos. This isn’t the Olympics. No one cares about performance. Just catastrophic failure. And speaking of which, the Veterans had better fall, otherwise I want a refund.
I thought I might be in luck with the Vets when Katie announced that a) she was going first and b) the balance beam was now wet thanks to some inclement weather. But alas, Katie did just fine getting across (like Ibis, without a blindfold). Then it was time for her to guide David across, and well, that wasn’t so easy. She actually messed up and had him walk backwards to get his photo. Way to go, Katie. Luckily for the team, David was nimble and survived this setback. Derrick, Julie, and Mark soon followed, also without incident. Mark had some teetering issues, but they were short-lived — unlike his faux-hawk.
Then it was time for Mark to work his navigational magic as he calmly directed Robin across the beam. “Hearing Mark’s voice and me trusting in him, it just made it a lot easier for me to get across,” she told us. So romantic, in a dumb sort of way. Good thing she was blindfolded, otherwise his bug-eyed stare might have frightened her right into the water. Seriously, what’s up with that? Dude’s got the scariest eyes on reality TV.
If only Robin could have been as proficient with directions as Mark. She tried to guide Timmy across, but she kept confusing her lefts and rights, causing the old geezer to nearly lose it a few times. But — sigh — this too came to pass as yet another cast member successfully avoided falling off. Finally, it was time for Aneesa. Okay, her fat ass better fall. No way this biatch has coordination. But nope, she made it too. Oh well. A full challenge with no embarrassing failures. This never would have happened under Beth’s reign.
In the end, it all came down to time, and the Vets easily won by over five minutes. You know what that meant: Kina’s was going to the Gauntlet. YES. So maybe no one fell off the balance beam — this episode could still be redeemed if Kina gets the big, fat boot off the show. I don’t know why I have so much bitterness pent up for Kina. I tend to think it has to do with her overdramatic impulses and her inability to ever listen to both sides of the story. Whatever. I don’t have to justify myself when it comes to these kids. So let’s just move on.
Anyway, with the Veteran victory came the realization for the women that they were in the final challenge. And no one was more excited than Julie. “Oh my god! I made it to the end. I didn’t get voted off!” she exclaimed. And by “I didn’t get voted off,” she meant “I didn’t try to kill someone by removing their safety harness! Yay!!”
Meanwhile, TJ gave Kina some words of encouragement. “Kina, you ain’t no stranger to the Gauntlet. You ain’t scared.” She ain’t scurrred (right, Brad?). But I bet she was pissed. Plus, now she had to pick either Suzie, Jillian, or Ibis to join her in the Gauntlet (Jodi was exempt because she sat out this challenge). If Kina were choosing based on old grudges, she’d send Suzie to the Gauntlet. If she were picking based on friendship loyalties, she’d spare Ibis and send Jillian. And if she were picking based on that crazy thing I like to call “brains,” she’d send Ibis in. I mean, it was so painfully obvious that Ibis had to go in. Even MJ realized it. “Kina needs to put Ibis in the Gauntlet tonight,” he insisted to us — which was sort of our way of knowing that she most definitely going to choose Jillian (we know misdirection when we see it).
With all this pressure mounting, Kina totally freaked out in the bathroom, telling Jodi, “I’m just so over it, you know?” Oh, shut up. Just pick a girl and be done with it. Or better yet, have the team pick for you. Or how about you just leave the damn island. This isn’t freakin’ Sophie’s Choice here. But Kina never saw a silly dilemma she couldn’t overly dramatize, and in this case, she yelled out, “I’M SO ANNOYED! I CAN’T TAKE THIS ANYMORE! I HATE THIS! I HATE THIS SO F*CKIN’ BAD!!” Anyone have a baseball bat? Or how about some chloroform? We need to knock this bitch out.
The phrase “SHUT UP” personified.
Anyway, at the team meeting, Kina decided to take Jillian to the Guantlet (a choice that was happily underscored with an ominous thunderclap). Yes, Ibis was spared and therefore guaranteed a spot in the final challenge. Enjoy dragging her uncoordinated ass around Rookies. I found it highly entertaining that after all of Kina’s sanctimonious bullshit about doing what’s best for the team, she ultimately made a decision on what was best for herself. And let’s not overlook the implicit cronyism involved as well. Kind of hypocritical behavior for the girl who railroaded Cara off the show because of her alleged self-interests.
Well, Jillian looked like she was about to cry. I’m sure she hadn’t been this upset since the time she realized her one-night stand on Road Rules made her look like a ginormous slut to America. Nevertheless, she bravely kept her composure as TJ spun the wheel of fate, and guess what? We had a new Gauntlet competition. Thank god. If I had to see Name That Coconut or Beach Brawl one more time, I would have flung my TV out on the street (not really. I would never do that to my beloved TV. I’d probably throw a sock instead). Anyway, the new event was “Sticky Situation,” something that I’m sure many of these cast members had been in over the past few weeks. I didn’t know what this challenge would be, but I just assumed it had to do with syrup and sexual positions.
Actually, “Sticky Situation,” was rather tame. Basically, it was a game of speed, agility, and velcro. There was a large hanging wall, and on it were various velcro circles. Players had to stick three little balls to three different circles. But of course, it’s never as easy as that. For each round of this game, there’d be an offender (or as TJ called it, “an off-ender”) and a defender. The defender had to stay in a specific box — a crease, if you will — and the offender had to get by and post her ball. If the two wound up wrestling on the ground for two seconds, TJ would intervene and each player would switch positions. Basically, this was like a really lame version of an American Gladiators event.
As team captain, Kina was allowed to pick which position she wanted first, and unsurprisingly, she opted for off-ender. But that’s okay. Jillian was totally psyched about being the defender. “Definitely looking forward to playing defense,” she said, “It’s one of my specialties.” Little known fact: Jillian is actually the defensive captain of the Coral Gables Sticky Situation Varsity team. All-State, Florida.
Defense may have been Jillian’s specialty, but that didn’t mean she was actually any good at it. Kina quickly steamrolled over her to get an easy point. The girls then switched positions, and Jillian too managed to earn a point; although, Kina did manage to knock her down in the process.
“She’s down! She’s down!” Kina protested in her typically annoying way, but TJ vetoed her, saying Jillian had to be down for two seconds. Well, Kina then returned to offense where again she powered her way to another point. I suppose this was super exciting for all the spectators because Robin told us, “This Gauntlet’s like watching two female gladiators go at it.” Yes, well, that’s assuming gladiators play with velcro balls.
Jillian then tried to earn her second point, but Kina honed her inner Jersey pit bull and tackled the tiny girl, thus ending the turn. Well, you can imagine how this wound up. Jillian continued to be absolutely useless on defense, and Kina easily won her third and final point. Dammit. It’s official: Kina’s here to stay. After some hugs with TJ, Kina then went down to the ocean where she said she just wanted to cry: “It’s been so hard on me! And it’s been so hard on Randy!” Oh, be quiet. It’s not like you’ve been toiling around Baghdad. Get over yourself and stop acting like a victim.
As the show came to a close, an unhappy Jillian left the house with a bitter chip on her shoulder. Understandable, really. MJ then told us that he wanted Kina to carry Ibis to the finish line. “I will be one mad redneck if we sit here and lose it because of Ibis.” I will be one mad non-redneck if I have to sit here and look at your stupid hair, MJ.
Personally, I’m totally rooting for the Veterans now. I’d been pro-Rookie all season, but now I just want them to fail, and all because of Ibis. Unfortunately, I have a feeling the producers are setting us up for some annoying Ibis/Kina redemption, and if that happens, I’ll be really annoyed. Wow, look at how bitter and angry I’ve become. It’s almost like I’ve turned into the Kina of TVgasm. This can’t be good. Think happy thoughts… Think happy thoughts…
What did you think about this episode? Did Kina pick the right person to take into the Gauntlet?