Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Top Shot Recap: S4 E4 "Crossbow Crossfire"

Where to being on this one? This season of Top Shot continues to get progressively better as the contestants get progressively stranger. It is episodes like this that make me wish I didn't separate my recaps from my analysis, but that serves a purpose, namely keeping my thoughts straight. So unfortunately, I won't be commenting (too much) on a lot of drama in this episode until tomorrow. For now, let's take a look at what went down in "Crossbow Crossfire"

The episode started with Terry Vaughan nailing Michelle Viscusi's target to the wall and Gregory Littlejohn wrapping it in one of his friendship bandanas. This was quickly followed by, what my mother likes to call, a Come-to-Jesus led by Vaughan. The fracture in the blue team runs a lot deeper than what the cameras have been showing, and despite Vaughan's encouraging and level-headed words of wisdom that his teammates needed to pull themselves together, it seemed that blue team was destined to once again struggle through the team challenge.

On the range the contestants found they would be shooting a modern version of an ancient weapon, the BowTech StrykeZone 350 crossbow. (A weapon that proved as difficult to say as it was to shoot for the blue team*) The key to StrykeZone was the reload, something expert Chris Brackett took extra care instructing the contestants on. There was no clear advantage during the practice, but there was a slight edge for the red team since Tim Trefren's experience as a big game guide made him familiar with the weapon.

However, Trefren quickly learned the danger of touting one's experience on Top Shot, as he found himself benched by the blue team for the team challenge. The challenge featured contestants going head to head shooting at a rotating target. The number of targets would increase in each round. The first contestants would have one target each, the second, two and so forth through six contestants. Each target was worth a point, but when a contestant hit all of their targets the round was over, and their opponent would have to cease shooting.

The red team found themselves in quick hole after the first two rounds, down three to nothing. However, slowly but surely, they crawled back and made this challenge into a real contest. Blue began to make some critical errors with Vaughan hitting the same target twice and Littlejohn freezing up knocking his first arrow. While Trefren could not participate in the challenge, he was quite a vocal presence, coaching his teammates through the challenge. That coaching, combined with the smooth shooting of Chee Kwan and Chris Cheng, led red team to their second consecutive win and sent blue team back to the nomination range.

At the house, it was Colin Gallagher who fell on the sword this week, calling himself out for his poor performance. Littlejohn reluctantly offered himself up as well, but commented that he felt Vaughan should have spoken up more about his performance. On the range Gun Fauxeri made a bit of a fool of himself by hitting the outside ring of Gallagher's target. In the end it was Colin and Littlejohn who were headed to elimination.

They discovered they would be shooting the Smith & Wesson M&P40, a favorite among law enforcement. Top Shot featured its first ever female expert, Julie Golob, to help Littlejohn and Gallagher. Again, during practice, neither contestant seemed to hold an advantage over the other, both struggling to hit a moving target from a stationary position.

The elimination challenge marked this season's first appearance by balloon targets. Each contestant was faced with a large wall that had a triangle cut out of the center of it. Going head to head the contestants had to shoot a small target on the left or right of the triangle, releasing a pendulum with ten balloon targets (big targets on the bottom, small ones on top). Each time the pendulum swung it would get stuck on the opposite side and the contestant would have to hit the small target on the corresponding side to release it again. The objective was simple, first contestant to shoot all their balloon targets would win.

After an even start Littlejohn began to pull away with it, the score at one point being 9-4 in favor of Littlejohn. However, nerves (and shadows, more on that tomorrow) once again proved to be Littlejohn's weakness, and Gallagher managed to catch up and make it an even match at 9-9. This didn't last long though, as Littlejohn managed to hit his final target and pull out a win.

Gallagher was sent packing, but not without a parting friendship bandanna from Littlejohn, who seemed to like Gallagher a whole lot more once he knew he wasn't going to be around him anymore.

Phew! Writing that was kind of like holding your breath for a very long time. Those are facts, come back tomorrow for the opinions, because we're going to have some fun.

Next week: Pirates!

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*A cheap shot, but I couldn't resist.

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