Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Top Shot Recap: S4 E6 "Blast from the Past"

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.

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  1. Here's a little more info than you got to see in the show.

    Both teams got a fair amount of time, a little over an hour each if I remember correctly. Both teams were taken through all the steps to load and fire the bag gun, and each member of both teams had to learn and practice every step. They powers that be tried to impress upon us that every team member needed to be able to fire the gun from any position, which lead all of us to speculate as to what the challenge would be. Both teams discussed it together back at the house. We were hoping that one team would get to fire paintball guns at the other team, eliminating team members from being able to help, as the other team attempted to load and fire the bag gun. It ended up being a lot less exciting than we wanted it to be. It turned out that the only reason we each had to learn everyone's roles was so that each team member had the responsibility of aiming one shot. During practice, each team had something like 10 practice shots, but they could practice going through the steps as much as they could during the allotted time. Since the blue team practiced first, we got to go back to the house while red team was practicing. We actually built a near full size replica of the bag gun out of items we found around the house and patio furniture. We practiced with that for a couple of hours until right before the red team got back to the house. We had everything broken down and put back away before they got there so they couldn't see what we were doing. At that point, the blue team was the model for teamwork.

    When we shot the actual challenge, all the shots but the last two were done back to back. We did actually have time constraints, but I can't remember what it was. The last two shots were the hardest, because between the gun had to sit for an extended period of time before the final two shots, giving it time to go cold and actually settle to a cold bore shape, which greatly effected our plans of walking the shots in. Both teams were lucky with our last shots. Honestly, with basically having to do a cold bore shot, losing all the previous dope, etc., it was anyone's guess where those shots would end up. All of us, including Colby, were very upset with how that whole challenge was handled.

    When it came to the red team nomination, there was A LOT more discussed than got shown in the episode. If they had shown all of it, the viewers would have a lot better idea of what was going on throughout the entire red team, but editing being what it was, you got what you got. As it wasn't my team, I won't go into all the details, but if anyone wants to know the whole story, ask some of the red team members. When it came to actually shooting the targets, as with every nomination, there is some time between the team meeting and the nomination range, and a lot of the time, more discussion ends up happening behind the scenes.

    As for the blue team, we were really just relieved that we didn't have to do any nominations. What would you even base it on? You couldn't base it on performance in that particular team challenge, so the decision would have sucked, which you DID see with the red team.

    So that was pretty much it. Watch next week.

  2. What I meant was a little more than an our to practice. My iPad is doing a terrific job of incorrectly correcting me.

  3. One other quick thing... Chee actually did get to help the red team quite a bit. They didn't show it during the episode, but every time one team got up to shoot, the other team had a notepad out and was doing calculations together based on the dope we had to walk the rounds in. Chee got to be in on that with the red team. We were doing some serious drawings, math, etc. On the fly. I wish they had shown that. It really showed the teamwork dynamics with both teams.

  4. Thanks for extra info Dylan, I might sum this up a little and throw it in another post. I hear you with the iPad stuff, I have the same issue when I'm taking notes in class. It is really interesting to see how much gets left out, because I agree that math stuff would have been cool to see. I appreciate the inside scoop. Because, well, I can only comment on what's shown haha.

    P.S. Nice job with the bag gun last night, that shot was pretty awesome.