The Reality TV Guru

The No Limits team knows no limits (photo courtesy ABC)

Of the original 13 teams, six teams remain in contention this week in Expedition Impossible. They are the Gypsies, the Fab 3, the Football Players, the Cops, the California Girls and No Limits.

After highlights from last week, the show begins with a visit to a building with a sign that reads URGENCES in French and in Arabic. Inside, we see Ike from No Limits on an emergency room examination table. It doesn’t look good and the doctor says they need to do an x-ray. We’re given a look at the x-ray, which reveals no fracture but ligament damage that will require a cast. Ike asks, “And could I complete the competition with that?” to which the doctor replies, “You can try…” Knowing Ike and his No Limits team, he will try.

At the start area with the teams, the host tells us it’s the first day of a two day expedition. The first checkpoint is on the shore of a lake and the only way to get there is to rappell down a very steep and dangerous-looking cliff face. The Gypsies again begin the leg, followed by No Limits and the California girls as the second group, with the remaining teams going as the third group.

Most of the teams make their way down the cliff face without incident, but Natalie of the California Girls slips and bangs up against the rocks with her left knee, so she’s scraped up. Brittany has an even harder knock against the cliff face, heavily laden with her pack adding to the force of the impact. Ouch! It’s enough to slow them down in put them in last place as the other teams behind them go down ahead of them.

Injuries mount as the Gypsies’ team member John rolls his ankle on a rock while hiking down rocky path toward the lake from the cliff. *bleep* The Football Players are in second place behind them, with No Limits not far behind in third with Ike pressing on with his injury.

At the lake, teams must inflate two kayaks to cross the lake to an island where the next set of instructions is located. Teams have to decide which kayak will have two members and which will have one solo (with the packs). The Football Players have trouble staying afloat and flip. The Gypsies remain in first as they reach the island and read the instructions.

Teams must then rig up their two kayaks together into a sailing catamaran and sail on to the next checkpoint on another island, where they’ll spend the night. The instructions are written sailing terms, which not everyone quite understands. It’s not an Ikea furniture instruction manual of put Tab A in Slot B! Leaving the island in order are the Gypsies, Fab 3, No Limits, Cops and Football Players, with the California Girls trailing far behind as they are still constructing their catamaran.

But it’s not smooth sailing! The wind is sometimes up, sometimes still, and teams have to improvise with a combination of sailing and paddling. Without a rudder, it’s not easy to steer. The Fab 3 are bickering and going *bleep* *bleep* *bleep* (in a “humongous commotion” as one Football player put it) while they have trouble moving and maneuvering with the sail hanging down over all of them. Meanwhile, the California Girls realize sailing isn’t as easy as they thought, but they manage to get themselves going fairly smoothly in good humor.

It’s a foot race to the day’s finish between the Cops and No Limits, who finish first! The Gypsies, Football Players, Fab 3 and finally the California Girls trail in behind them. It’s an encouraging win for No Limits with Ike earning praise from his teammates for not giving up.

Day two dawns on the island camp as teams limber up and prepare for the next stage. Ike from No Limits, John from the Gypsies and Natalie from the California Girls are nursing their injuries. Looking on this, AJ from the Fab 3 and Robert from the Football Players conspire, “I’d like to get rid of No Limits or Gypsies” and they plan an alliance, “if it comes down to a challenge, we just help each other.” “Boom, boom, boom.” Well, guys, it’s not football where you can do chop blocks, you know. You’re going to have to put up your own scores without thinking of settling any scores with the other teams. Suddenly, considering the cooperative spirit of the other teams, I find myself hoping neither of these guys make the playoffs.

To get started, teams travel north on the island and swim the shallows to the mainland and then hike overland to the next checkpoint. No Limits gets a 3-minute head start, but Ike is limping behind the other two, slowing them down. The Cops and Gypsies take off next, followed by the last three teams. Swimming isn’t easy, as they have to use their packs as a float and guide it across with them to the other shore.

The team order switches around during the long, exhausting hike to the checkpoint. The Football Players make a dash to try pass up all of the other teams, who are still conserving their energy. No Limits gradually fall behind with Ike limping along until they’re in last place. We get some snippets of team chemistry as they continue their tiring hike. Kari of Fab 3 has to take frequent breaks to “take care of business” and at one point AJ says, “Come, Kari, let’s go, get your ass moving!” to which she replies from behind the bushes, “Shut up!”

The Gypsies reach the checkpoint first. Teams must use two poles and a chain as a navigation tool by solving questions with numbered answers to be used on a compass bearing to take them to the final set of instructions. Confused yet? Slowly but surely the teams figure out what they’re supposed to do. The Gypsies and Football Players uncover their instructions almost at the same time. The compass bearing points them 600 yards to the location of the finish line.

It turns into a bit of a foot race with the Gypsies outpacing the Football Players to the finish for first place. Back at the navigation challenge, the Fab 3 and the Cops figure out their directions and make their way to the finish line, with the Fab 3 finishing in third place and the Cops in fourth. The California Girls are going around in circles at the navigation challenge, unable to find where they need to unearth their instructions. No Limits still hasn’t reached the site for a long time and then they see “three people in pink standing there” and suddenly their hopes go up! Ike is literally limping, not putting his bad ankle down on the ground at all, as he can’t walk on it.

So now it comes down to the navigationally crippled California girls versus the physically crippled No Limits teams to see who will finish in last place. Watching the No Limits team, the California Girls realize their navigational blunder and retry it as the No Limits team uncovers their directional clue. No Limits is on the way, but limping along, just as the California Girls uncover their clue. But too late! Even with Ike limping along, the No Limits team (much to the amazement of the other teams) make their way in fifth place, with the California Girls coming in last.

The gals take their loss somewhat emotionally, but also stoically and in good cheer too. Kudos to these gals, it was fun watching you this season!

Next week: Seriously rough white water rafting, a scaring looking climbing task that calls for crawling into a cave-like hole in a cliff, and yet another foot race.

Will injuries continue to be a factor as the remaining five teams all vie to stay in contention to win the Expedition? Stay tuned!

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