Last night's episode was one for the books, big guns and big twists combined for a hell of a treat.
The time back at the house was limited as Tim Trefren nailed up Iggy Keyes' target without too much of a speech, because, well, he isn't a member of the blue team (or Kyle Sumpter). Then it was off to the range, where the team's found out they would be shooting the behemoth 3.2'' Bag Gun, a cannon used in in the Spanish-American war.
Blue team practiced first and walked through the steps involved in loading the weapon, which are complicated, to say the least. While blue team walked through the prep, the red team walked through the firing, which included a 4.3 lb. aluminum shell. If I thought it was hard in past week's to see which team had an advantage after the practice, this week was practically impossible.
This week's challenge was a straight-forward closest to the bullseye shoot-off. Team's would trade off shots, each team member would have a chance to aim the cannon with the help of their teammates and fire a shot, everyone of course, but Chee Kwan. For reason's unexplained, blue decided to sit Kwan for the challenge, and unlike week's past where red team members have coached their teammates from the sidelines, there wasn't much for Kwan to help with since each team member had a specific responsibility.
The shots started out wide, with both teams hitting the target board, but none of the rings on their first fires. But then they started to dial it in, inching closer to the center mark. In the end, it was one of the closest finishes of the season with red team hitting 7.65 inches outside the center, and blue team winning the challenge with a hit at 7.5 inches outside the center.
This led to a very tense meeting among the red team. Nobody completely botched their shot. The early shooters may have been off the mark, but the later shooters had the advantage of dialing in their shot based on their other teammates' shots. It was decided they would have to decide based on past performance, which is always dicey on Top Shot. Chris Cheng took it upon himself to refresh people's memories as to their successes and failures in the past challenges, but as he talked, the camera focused in on the twitching leg of Tim Trefren.
When Cheng finished his run through, Trefren called him out for criticizing everyone but himself, and, despite having just been sent to elimination after the last challenge, Trefren said he wanted to go toe-to-toe with Cheng to settle their dispute. Chee Kwan chimed in that he was frustrated after sitting out two challenges, and wanted to prove his worth to his teammates by going to elimination with Cheng. This was met by general consensus by the rest of the team, except Trefren, but he was going to vote for Cheng regardless, so it didn't really matter.
But then they went to the range, and my confidence in the red team's resolution to vote for Cheng and Kwan was so strong that I half expected them to simply tell Colby who they were nominating and not even bother with the shooting. However, this is Top Shot, and on Top Shot, there's shooting. The first two votes went to Cheng and Kwan, but then it was Sumpter's, ole Papa Bear himself, turn to shoot.
And he voted for Tim Trefren.
Sumpter is all about keeping red team together despite their losses. He viewed the riff between Cheng and Trefren as a threat to the red team's ability to perform effectively. The rest of red team seemed to agree as it was Cheng and Trefen who ultimately ended up in elimination.
At the practice they discovered they would be shooting the atlatl, a primitive spear-chucking weapon that has been around for over 3,000 years. It was a weapon Trefren had some experience with with his hunting background, but one Cheng had never even seen before. Both struggled in practice with Trefren overpowering his shots and Cheng grounding them into the dust.
The elimination challenge featured three targets at progressively further distances and increasing point values. The challenge started out tight but after Cheng opened up his lead to 20 points, Trefren realized that even with his two remaining darts he wouldn't be able to catchup, and the challenge was over.
Trefren goes home and the team's even out for the first time since week three.
There are only two more episodes before we get to the green jerseys, and next week it's my favorite time of the year as trick shooting returns.
Check back tomorrow for my full analysis this episode where I really dig into the Trefren and Cheng debacle.
Stay up to date with my latest posts by following me on Twitter: @cswiets