American Ninja Warrior

Adam Rayl, I’m nearly certain.

I think you’re selling the weatherman short. He beat stage 1 with contemptuous ease despite being very clearly unwell. Obviously if they film stage 2 the next day and he’s not any better he’s probably not going to do great, but he’s certainly not clearly-over-the-hill.

And of course there’s Daniel Gil, who is the other best-of-the-vets assuming he’s back next year.

Plus, there are several other teens who seem like they’re in around the same category as Walker, although frankly I can’t keep them straight yet.

StarvingButStrong - I’ve discredited jinxes and conspiracies on this thread numerous times, and I stand by them. If you’re really paying attention, you’ll notice that Eyes and Bodge fawn all over the place and only rarely does it jump up and bite them. The few glaring oopses just mean that the announcers are getting louder and more irritating (incredible, I know). I also seriously doubt that NBC has any motivation to expend any editing muscles on them, particularly with the show’s stretched to the breaking point as it is.

“Da Kurss” was just bloviating nonsense and pretty goddam pathetic even by the usual abysmal standards of reality TV. It took me three attempts before I could even figure out what the hell it was about, and even after I did I don’t consider it any kind of deal at all. Ooh, if you defang Stage 2 to a borderline ANWJ level, you’re going to get a lot of guys clearing it who are going to proceed to get clobbered in Stage 3! Actions have consequences, what a shocker! :roll_eyes::angry: I keep thinking time and again that this show can’t possibly sink any lower, and now I’m holding enough damn beer to host an Oktoberfest. I’m starting to think I need to quit for the sake of my sanity, never mind blood pressure.

Max The Vool - There will be plenty of contenders, and the old warhorses certainly aren’t going down without a fight, but barring a second white-hot phenom surging out of ANWJ I don’t see it making much of a difference. The stars aligned perfectly…purr-feckt-leeee…for Walker, and he’s got his whole life ahead of him. If he doesn’t crack the half million mark within the next decade, I will be gobsmacked. Maybe he’ll be more Mike Tyson than Tiger Woods. Maybe Kaden Lebsack or Enzo Wilson or some other young fireball will rise to the challenge and create ANW’s next great rivalry. I’d be happy if either happened. I truly would.

As I was watching the teens the other night, it struck me how they’re still growing. There are good ninjas who are anywhere from five feet tall to six and a half feet tall, but the best ninjas are in a pretty narrow range: about 5’8" to 5’10". It will be interesting to see if the teens can maintain their skills as they continue to grow upward, and once they’re done growing upward, to grow outward. If Vance still has a few inches to grow, though, he will end up right in that sweet spot of 5’8"-5’10".

I mean, you’re talking as if Walker is head and shoulders better than the best of the other teens because editing tells us so. Right now, comparing him to the best of the other teens:
-He got the mega wall, which none of them did (in his favor)
-He got the safety pass, which none of them did, although I can’t remember who he was racing against, or how close it was (in his favor, although would be interesting to time the runs and see if he would have beaten, say, Joe M head to head)
-He fell early and embarrassingly on stage 2 (not in his favor)
-He got one move further on stage 2 than “The Boss”, which is close to a wash, and we haven’t seen the rest of the cream of the crop teens take on stage 2 yet

So it seems a bit premature to be putting him in a different category from anyone else, particularly before we see the rest of the stage 2 runs.

I mean, I’m not saying I would be shocked if he was last man standing this season. But I certainly wouldn’t be shocked if he wasn’t, either. It’s a very hard season to predict with so many teens who have so far hit every buzzer but not gotten as much extra coverage as walker. How good is that trombone guy, really? Or the mohawk guy? I guess we’ll find out soon…

I haven’t watched American Ninja Warrior Junior, but the impression I got from the commentators is that Walker was undefeated in ANW Jr. and raced against most of these teenage competitors that you’re talking about. I don’t know how the age ranges work, so I’m sure there were some that were in a different age group, but if he did it two years in a row (meaning that some kids probably drifted in and out of the same age group as him) – I don’t know, I’d guess based on that stat that he honestly is the best of the teens.

Sure, someone has to be the best of the teens. But there’s “won both races by 0.25 seconds each” best and “was two full obstacles ahead of anyone else” best. DKW seems to be semi-gloomily predicting that the next decade of ANW will just be the Vance Walker show… and I think it’s way too soon to start saying that.

Well, ANWJ season 3 has begun and…yeah. :slightly_frowning_face: Okay, see, the old system was that the show got recorded on a powerful, reliable, simple-to-use box, I watched it on a crystal-clear movie-size HDTV screen, and I typed my reactions on a computer that wasn’t doing anything else at the moment. This distribution of duties not only resulted in the most efficiency but ensured that I could respond properly, in real time, to big moments like ultra-tight finishes or shocking falls. Now that everything’s jammed onto the computer, I have to do a lot of reclicking and dragging and alt-tabbing just to walk and chew gum at the same time.

About Peacock. I am so glad that I don’t actually have to pay for this junk. It is really annoying to use. The main screen keeps slipping back into “preview” mode for whatever reason; the only way to keep the full picture up is to click the screen 2-3 times (No more, no less!) and leave it alone! No pausing, no backtracking, no advancing. You can imagine how practical that is for my needs. Unfortunately the only other option is picture-in-picture, which doesn’t have preview text and I can place in a relatively unobtrusive part of the monitor, the tradeoffs being that I can’t see the elapsed time and it’s smaaaaaallll.

Which would still be tolerable if the show was an improvement over the last season, but in the 9-10 obstacles preview I see cartoony “spark” effects and hear flippin’ America’s Funniest Home Videos sound effects, and I’m reminded that all of NBC’s roads lead to Rock Bottom. :angry:

Obstacles are as follows:

Common: 1-Hopscotch 2-Lunatic Ledges 4-Broken Bridge
9-10: 3-Liquid Pipe 5-Flying Saucers
10-11: 3-Spike Crossing 5-Spring Forward
13-14: 3-Sideways 5-Spinball Wizard

As always, the 6th and final is Warped Wall with two notches are open for 9-10, one for 10-11, and none for 13-14. Also for 13-14, the Lunatic Ledges net is removed.

It looks like they’re keeping the same exhibition/real format, so that’s one less thing I have to explain. (They’re called “Round 1” and Round 2 now, and we finally have “winner” and “loser” instead of this runner-up nonsense.) On the downside, wild cards appear to be a thing of the past. Each day is going to produce a quarterfinallist, meaning that there are…as far as I can tell…a mere 32 competitors. I’m getting the feeling that NBC wants to cut down on the truly hopeless cases to produce better contests, and while that’s certainly a worthwhile goal (seriously, by the end of season 2 the You’re Supposed To Put Both Ends On The Track, Stupid! Club could have filled a classroom), this is definitely a harsh tradeoff.

I’m not going to do any play-by-plays of the matches this time…even if I could pick out all the nuances from the small picture-in-picture which is the only option that’s working for me on Peacock, my enthusiasm is completely gone. Just quick recaps, exhibitions, reals, and finals. So you get some idea of how much of a contest it was, I’ll add a brief descriptor at the end.

runaway - One contestant hit the buzzer before the other made it to Warped Wall.
big - Both contestants made it to Warped Wall; the winner hit the buzzer before the loser made it to the platform.
decent - Both contestants made it up the platform but there was never any doubt as to the outcome.
tight - Small but still visible margin of victory.
sugar - Extremely narrow margin, replay required.
H&H (“Heaven & Hell”) - Both went up at the same or nearly the same time; one made it over while the other fell back down.
shid - One contestant got to Warped Wall first and made 1-3 failed attempts, then other got to the wall and made it up and to the buzzer on the first attempt.
shootout - Both contestants failed at least one attempt at the wall.
walkaway - One contestant hit the buzzer after the other went out. (If it’s not clear which one happened first, I’ll use my best judgment.)
distance - Both contestants went out; the one which went further won.
speed - Both contestants went out on the same obstacle; the one who reached it first won.

I’ll also be adding some end notes for, y’know, when I feel like putting in random tidbits and stuff.

And just to end a positive note, Victoria Arlen won a gold medal! :+1:

AMERICAN NINJA WARRIOR JUNIOR 3 - PRELIM 1

9-10
E1: Max Salebra d. Michael Scott (runaway)
E2: Cecily Rogers d. Kashi Paramasivam (walkaway)
R1: Max Salebra d. Kashi Paramasivam (runaway)
R2: Michael Scott d. Cecily Rogers (runaway)

Scott did the usual get-flustered-against-the-strong-opponent-then-wake-up-against-the-girl bit that I’m sure <<GIRLLL POWERRRRR!>> NBC just loves. Salebra dominated both of his matches, meaning that one way or the other the revenge final is going to be unsatisfying. That’s a step up from “miserable”, so I’ll take it.

11-12
E1: Brian Moreno d. Aaliya Van Heel (distance)
E2: Josie Anderson d. Kiran Narwani (decent)
R1: Kiran Narwani d. Brain Moreno (H&H)
R2: Josie Anderson d. Aaliya Van Heel (runaway)

Standard case of a stronger loser being a (relatively) weak winner and prevailing. Neither Narwani nor Anderson was really tested, but Anderson looked stronger and should have the edge in the final.

13-14
E1: Jordan Carr d. Luke Beckstrand (runaway)
E2: Taylor Greene d. Alex Young (runaway)
R1: Jordan Carr d. Alex Young (runaway)
R2: Taylor Greene d. Luke Beckstrand (walkaway)

I think we can safely call Luke “the other Beckstrand” now. He looked overwhelmed out there. In fact, both girls flat-out romped over their male competition. This is definitely a first, and something which I’d definitely celebrate were it not for the realization that NBC put two of the strongest girls in the exact same group in the first round. CONGRATULATIONS, MORONS! YOU LEARNED NOTHING! :rage::rage::rage::scream:

Finals
9-10: Max Salebra d. Michael Scott (big)
11-12: Josie Anderson d. Kiran Narwani (walkaway)
13-14: Taylor Greene d. Jordan Carr (decent)

Scott led most of the way but faltered on Flying Saucers, and Salebra’s spurious campaign See What I Did There continues. Anderson/Narwani was actually a very good contest up to Spike Crossing, but then Narwani committed a cardinal sin…machismo. He tried to dismount without moving either of the movable spikes. His feet briefly found the landing pad, but his center of gravity was way too far back, and he took a bath. Greene mumblegrumble someone had to lose. Regrets all around. Same ‘ol, same ‘ol. :slightly_frowning_face:

Notes:

  • Did they really have to make the liquid in Liquid Pipe greenish yellow? GREENISH YELLOW?? :astonished: Isn’t that, like, the absolute 100% worst possible choice? Did the course designers somehow forget that there would be children here? :man_facepalming:

  • If you were annoyed by all the 3WAs in the televised contests, good news! Peacock has matches eviscerated completely at random! No, I don’t know what the “reason” for this is! Streaming is so much better than television in every conceivable way! :roll_eyes::angry:

  • Y’know, profile-editing nimrod, that “Nothing happened!” bit would’ve hit a lot better if it you didn’t use a freaking cartoon effect for the shattering glass and thereby place a goddam 500-foot neon sign on the fact that nothing actually happened. :man_facepalming::woman_facepalming::rage: What is wrong with you?

  • Max Salebra fancies himself a future President. Apparently “childish delusional fantasy” counts as a profile now. :roll_eyes: Kid, there are reasons things like “mayor” and “city council member” exist. One rung at a time, a’ight?

  • Some profiles are nonsensical. Some profiles are pointless. Some profiles are soul-crushing. Some profiles have the worst music in the history of humanity. Josie Anderson is “The Christmas Ninja”. She wins! :woman_facepalming::rage:

  • That prank with Alex Young had to have been scripted, right? I simply cannot believe that NBC, which has been pushing the wholesome family angle hard for the past several years (especially since a top star with the initials “DD” shafted them) would glorify a boy acting like a colossal jerk to his mother.

There’s another episode up right now; I’ll try to get that one finished by tomorrow. New episodes upload Thursday, so this is looking like a weekend thing.

AMERICAN NINJA WARRIOR JUNIOR 3 - PRELIM 2

9-10
E1: Aaron Deal d. Kade Skye (big)
E2: Gabriel Holder d. Sophia Krinker-Cho (walkaway)
R1: Gabriel Holder d. Kade Skye (big)
R2: Sophia Krinker-Cho d. Aaron Deal (big)

Wha…there’s a competition or something? I’m sorry, I must have gotten distracted by the abject screaming horror of two prankster profiles in as many episodes. Seriously, NBC, just because you’re pretty sure that he won’t cause another Columbine doesn’t mean that you should be glorifying boys acting like complete toxic waste. (Or girls acting like complete toxic waste, but somehow that doesn’t seem to come up. Like, ever. Wonder why. :roll_eyes:) Krinker-Cho, to her credit, learned from her mistakes and looked good in the real (She’s 4’8”…is it just me, or is this already becoming the season of big girls?), so there’s a pretty good chance the revenge match won’t be excessively predictable.

11-12
E1: Jack Skye d. Molly Steffel (shootout)
E2: Dillon Yee d. Grace Walk (runaway)
R1: Molly Steffel d. Dillon Yee (walkaway)
R2: Grace Walk d. Jack Skye (H&H)

I feel weird saying this (well, kinda), but the one advantage to a girl with alopecia is that it’s really easy to recognize her on the course. This was one of those battles of attrition where none of the contestants was that good, meaning the winner was going be the one less not-good than the others. Both boys succumbed to weird mistakes in the reals: Yee, with a massive lead at Spring Forward, needlessly rushed the dismount and got soaked, and he could do nothing but futilely attempt to jinx his opponent as she verrrry sloooowly outdid him (Geez, is that the worst feeling or what?), while Skye was right with Walk at the wall but was too casual going up and whiffed on the notch. Goddesses alive, do we really have a double steal in just day 2? :astonished:

13-14
E1: Asa Reynolds d. Sebastian Chrismer (decent)
E2: Jackson Erdos d. Jacoby Herman (walkaway)
R1: Jackson Erdos d. Sebastian Chrismer (walkaway)
R2: Asa Reynolds d. Jacoby Herman (runaway)

Not as much of a drubbing as it looks like on paper; it seemed to me like Reynolds and Erdos simply had more confidence and could go harder without making mistakes. A matchup between two undefeateds is generally the best case scenario for the final, so I’m giving a thumbs-up to this one. Not literally of c…oh, what the hell, it’s only four keystrokes. :+1:

Finals
9-10: Sophia Krinker-Cho d. Gabriel Holder (tight)
11-12: Grace Walk d. Molly Steffel (runaway)
13-14: Jackson Erdos d. Asa Reynolds (runaway)

Krinker-Cho was the archtypical “didn’t look like a winner” today. She faded extremely badly in the stretch, getting spun around on the last saucer, being slow up the wall, and taking forever to get up and over. Meanwhile Holder was a rocket in the same stretch; I actually thought he was going to beat her to the buzzer like we’ve seen so many times before. Walk, likewise, all but ran out of juice on Spring Forward. I love a good girl power story as much as anyone, but the chances that either Krinker-Cho or Walk gets past quarters are looking subatomic. Erdos, in contrast, was a revelation. The bad thing about opponents hitting the deck early is that you don’t get to see how good the winner really is, and as it turns out, Erdos is damn fine. His time was comparable to Kaden Lebsack, if you can believe that.

Notes:

  • Kade Skye. Oh wow, an obnoxious, entitled brat whose sole notion of “fun” is irritating and humiliating others! That is certainly the type of person who is held in high regard in my home state! :rage: (Again, I have zero reason to believe that prank was anything but a complete work. Screwing over the unpopular kid in a school run by Boomers is one thing…you could get away with anything short of literal murder in that environment…but screwing over one’s own father sounds like a good way to become a domestic battery statistic.)

  • Can we have a “walk away quietly cam”? Or an “act like you’ve been there before cam”? :angry:

  • One last time. The way to fight bullying is to set rules of conduct with massive, razor-sharp teeth, protect victims, punish perpetrators, punish repeat perpetrators harder, never let up the pressure, and answer complaints with calm explanations, empty threats with cold shoulders, serious threats with handcuffs, and violence with six feet of dirt. You see trash, you take it out. We are a nation of round-the-clock surveillance, guns, tanks, and prisons. We have no excuses.

Oh my gosh, I’m so glad you posted this! I don’t watch American Ninja Warrior Junior, but a couple of those competitors are kids I’ve trained with at my local ninja gym. One of them I train with pretty regularly, and I knew he was going to be on the show but didn’t realize the episode had come out, and the other I didn’t even realize would be on the show at all (though I’m not a bit surprised, considering her skill level). I had marked my calendar to cancel my Hulu subscription after the Vegas finals of ANW (since that’s the only TV I watch), but I might hold off for a couple weeks now.

I thoroughly enjoyed the ANW finale.

Good to know that a season can end with ninjas competing on stage four but no one winning, which had never happened before. Amazing efforts by all four of the stage-3-ers, all of whom are pretty clearly locked in as among the absolute best of the best right now. And heartbreak for all the ninjas (including a bunch of the top vets) failing on the very last grab.

Jessie “Flex” LaBreck can clearly do better than that, so hopefully she gets another shot. And hopefully Joe M is not suffering from food poisoning next season, and gets another good shot while he’s still (relatively) young.

Absolute hats off to the obstacle designers. Eyeglass lane is probably my single favorite obstacle they’ve ever had, because of how erratic it starts to get as the competitor starts to gas out, which just makes it all the more fun and nerve-wracking to watch. Plus it just oozes impossible, but clearly can be beaten. Top notch.

I wonder how much of eyeglass lane’s difficulty is inherent, and how much is due to it being the second-to-last obstacle. There is definite difficulty (because they can rest before attempting)

I wonder how much rest between stage 3 and 4 happened.

Brian

Was going to do a full recap of season 12, but…forget it, it’s going to take too long and I barely have the energy for ANWJ3 as it is.

I’d like to respectfully cool off on Vance Walker. Honestly, the only reason I brought him up was that I was sick of one negativity-crammed post after another and wanted to talk about something that was at worst neutral. In a sense, though, I may have unwittingly hit upon the common demoninator behind most of the stuff that really annoys me about the current incarnation of the show. The massive, powerful youth movement…which is ensuring that the annoying junk is here to stay and if anything will get more annoying.

Firstly, nearly the entire old guard is out. Brian Arnold vanished with zero fanfare, along with Kevin Bull, Natalie Duran, the Wilczewski brothers, Jon Alexis Jr., Travis Rosen, Noah Kaufman, and a host of others. But if he was anything more than a first-round flameout on ANWJ, there’s a big spotlight on him. Then there are the sideshows that all but glorify doing disgusting things to parents. Seriously, if I still had the capacity to rant about this show, the poor mother who got the freaking announcers’ faces tattooed on her arms on a bet (I don’t even know where to begin on how utterly fragged up that is) would have had me going for paragraphs. Then there’s the freaking endless cheerleading. “You got this!” is apparently the American “Nokotta!”, except for several minutes and with the bystander miked up, because what poor kid deserves a piffling natural leather-lung voice? :roll_eyes: And then there’s the endless cloying, suffocating positivity. Yes, I understand why Gordon Ramsey isn’t allowed to adopt the same mad dog persona on Masterchef Junior as he does on Hell’s Kitchen, but there’s a difference between being polite but still honest and a goddam two hour long pep rally. It’s reached the point where even rivals, in many cases competing for the lance, are expected to cheer and encourage in the spirit of, I dunno, demographics?

And of course, NBC hit upon the big advantage of building the show around teenagers…it’s okay if they never make any money. See, grownups have needs; they can’t live on sportsmanship and good vibes. The most telling (and honest) moment tonight was the aftermath of Neil Craver. It was plainly obvious that for all his “crazy” antics, he was completely sick and tired of busting his butt year after year and never making a penny. He had the look of a man who’d finally had enough, and if he isn’t finished, he’s pretty damn close. But teens? They can have a great time and cheer and laugh and hug, and then they’re going to join either the real world or a real sport and make way for the next crop of rainbows-and-sunshine phenoms. All amidst an extremely loud rah-rah backdrop.

Not my cup of tea, but whatever sells ad time, I guess.

Few other names I feel like bringing up:

Jesse “Clubhouse” Labreck - She’s now entered the same rut Kacy Catanzaro and Jessie Graff ran into head on. She’s accomplished everything any woman can reasonably expect to, and now that Stage 2 gave her a sobering reality check, she’s going to have to dig really deep just to find a reason to keep competing. I guess number 'o buzzers might have some novelty value, but after all she’s done I’m thinking it’s going to take more than that.

Joe Moravsky - Just can never, ever, EVER catch a break, ever. At some point he’s going to have to hang them up and become a mentor full time, and I just hope it happens before anything positive he ever felt for ANW is crushed.

Vance Walker - His first taste of not-endless-triumphant-success. Had to happen sometime. Still looked very impressive handling an upper-body destroyer and finishing third overall on his very first crack. It may take a bit longer than expected, but he will become a superstar and he will rake in far more cash than anyone ever should here. Count on it.

Austin Gray - Man, this has got to be the suckiest sucking suck that ever suck. In nearly every realty show second is the absolute worst spot to finish , but especially here; work so hard, push his body to the limit, and get so close, only to make exactly as much as the schlubs who no-resulted quallies. But twice in a row? It was bad enough when Travis Rosen had to suffer that indignity on TNW, and that was just some fun little side event (albeit one I’m still crushed had to end :slightly_frowning_face:). Gray has now had $200,000 yanked out of his pocket. Did you know that the runner-up in one of the PGA’s majors takes home around $1.3 million and is all but a mortal lock to be fully exempt for the following season? Hahh…such a sacrifice he made, too. :slightly_frowning_face:

Kaden Lebsack - Now this was the revelation. He flew completely under my radar for the entire season, and when the dust cleared, he was all alone at Mount Midoriyama. I can’t even begin to describe how he took out an absolute crusher of a Stage 3…it’s like he willed himself to never let go. I mean, I saw him on ANWJ, I knew he was good, but after the utter moron who made the first round groupings Blake Feero almost completely ate his lunch and Vance Walker left him breathing fumes, I figured his time in the sun might never come. What a difference a season makes, eh? :grin: He was so dominant, Eyes and Bodge forgot to drone endlessly about his hair! Definitely one to watch in the future, and don’t be surprise if he becomes the benchmark future top teens measure themselves against.

And I’m done. Gotta admit, it’s been a hell of a ride.

The wind of my soul - You’re welcome! :slightly_smiling_face: I think it’s simple justice that those of us who might not want to deal with streaming services should at least have some idea of what’s going on to better decide. And, for now at least, these recaps are pretty fun for me. Relatively speaking.

It looked to me like the issue was being the second-to-last obstacle. You could see both Austin’s and Vance’s performance deteriorating sharply the longer they were on the obstacle.

Agreed, and I have to give the producers credit here. The way they kept giving Vance Walker the final slot of the night and showing all his full runs definitely led me to believe that he was the one to watch, and not Kaden. I hope they continue to do sneaky edits like this that throw me off.

Did you mean Jake Murray? I don’t remember seeing Neil “Crazy” Craver (or his gold shorts) at all this season.

If you did mean Jake Murray, 100% agreed. It was actually a little hard to watch.

Right, Jake Murray. Could’ve checked, but was just too tired to care.

Oh, hey, it’s that time again…

AMERICAN NINJA WARRIOR JUNIOR 3 - PRELIM 3

Tuning into week 3, and…yikes. The lovey-doveyness is getting positively smothering now. The first shots we see in this episode are full of hugs, helping up, cheering opponents, and general maximum strength Hallmarkitude. Eyes crows about how they’re a family that gets bigger every day (I have a feeling that’s going to change a few seasons down the line), and one of the boys proclaims that they’re all nice to each other. I’m honestly a bit surprised NBC is going in this direction. Of course they want to emphasize good sportsmanship, maturity, honest effort, and respect for others, like anyone involved in a youth competition should, but there’s a difference between refusing to glorify bad behavior and refusing to show the slightest negative reaction whatsoever. News flash: girls cry. Not always, of course, but they do, and there’s nothing wrong with this.

Don’t even get me started with this “They both hit the buzzer!” booshwah when we don’t even have wild cards anymore. :roll_eyes: Sheeeeeeeshhh…

Starting with 11-12 today for absolutely no reason given. Draw your own conclusions. Y’know, if you’re into that sort of thing.

11-12
E1: Jake Scionti d. Caroline Kieffer (big)
E2: Joey Ray d. Reeder Smith (runaway)
R: Joey Ray d. Caroline Kieffer (runaway)

The highlight was when Smith injured his left pinky when it got caught in the Lunatic Ledges net. (I’ll say it again: NO ONE should EVER wreck their body for a GODDAM REALITY SHOW. :rage:) The pain was bad enough, in fact, to force him out of the competition entirely and give Jake Scionti ANWJ’s first ever freebie pass to the final. Naturally, ever-compassionate NBC responded by bumrushing past it as quickly as possible and never showing Smith again. :man_facepalming::angry: Ray, apparently subscribing to the “timid machismo” school of upper body obstacle-conquering, didn’t move either movable spike on Spike Crossing, electing instead to go for a direct dismount…after taking a looooong time to set it up. :question::confused::question: Needless to say, I’m hoping this never becomes The Move.

9-10
E1: Isabel Johnson d. Kasey Gaspard (distance)
E2: Levi Meeks d. Grace Schneider (big)
R1: Levi Meeks d. Kasey Gaspard (runaway)
R2: Grace Schneider d. Isabel Johnson (speed)

It started with a hard-fought attrition duel and ended with a mighty struggle by both girls on Flying Saucers. Good stuff. In the interim, of course, was the sole boy in the group running roughshod over his overmatched competition. This is why you have skills tests, NBC, to ensure that the skinny puny runty boy you’re putting up as a sacrificial lamb for your Girlz Rool narrative is actually going to do his part. :man_shrugging:

13-14
E1: Phil Folsom d. Evan White (big)
E2: Emme Smith d. Emily Gardiner (walkaway)
R1: Phil Folsom d. Emily Gardiner (runaway)
R2: Emme Smith d. Evan White (walkaway)

After the exhibitions, I was certain we were getting the standard “Two strong boys in the first exhibition followed by two weak girls in the second exhibition making everything but the final utterly irrelevant” dealie. There was only one thing that could have possibly prevented this hyperboring outcome, and astoundingly enough it happened in both reals. Folsom won but looked incredibly sloppy, nearly taking the plunge on the dismounts of Sideways and Broken Bridge, while White did considerably worse by finding the water at Hopscotch. I’ll say it again: The first no-result of the season was a boy on 13-14. Even better, his profile was a lengthy Acceptable Story about Molly Steffel helping him cope with his dad dying! :astonished: I didn’t think was still any room for “What the heck happened?” on this show. If I’m actually going to get through the whole season, I want more like this. Every episode if possible, dangit.

Finals
11-12: Jake Scionti d. Joey Ray (runaway)
9-10: Grace Schneider d. Levi Meeks (walkaway)
13-14: Phil Folsom d. Emme Smith (runaway)

And…that’s why they play the games. Scionti led most of the way and one-upped Ray by making a no-move dismount at Spike Crossing with no delay. Ray, under pressure, fell hard on Broken Bridge; although he avoided the water, his dreams of the quarters were over. Guess Scionti didn’t need a free ride after all. Meeks was leading all the way to Flying Saucers, inexplicable, he bonked his head on the second disk and rebounded into the water. If you got an uncomfortable flashback to Blake Feero, you’re not the only one. Folsom, in stark contrast to his real, was laser-focused and wire-tight, turning in the most dominant run of the day.

This is one of those days where all three winners look dominant when they’re on their game but can suffer a fatal disaster at any moment. We’ll just have to see when it happens. I mean if. :stuck_out_tongue:

Notes:

  • If Jake Scionti wasn’t completely obnoxious to me before, taking a page from freaking Strong Bad definitely did the trick.

  • Man, is “vegan and bug eater” the ultimate false dichotomy or what?