Sorry if it seems like I'm slacking on my posting schedule here, but school keeps getting in the way.
Let's skip the pleasantries and dive right in.
On the practice range (nothing interesting happened in the opening two minutes, so I'm skipping straight to the shooting) Colby stood in front of the contestants with a big grin and big tarp. Under the tarp was a M1919 Browning machine gun, a classic weapon of WWII. It was a weapon that none of the contestants had shot before, though Greg Littlejohn had the advantage of previous experience with belt fed machine guns due to his time in the military. With the help and welcome return of Craig "The Sawman" Sawyer, the rest of the group worked on trying to figure out the gun and playing with the trigger without spending too much ammo.
At the challenge the contestants were faced with...nothing, just the bench, which meant they were in for a surprise. That was when an M2A1 Halftrack came barreling down the road with the Browning strapped to its back. Contestants would jump on the Halftrack and have the opportunity to shoot at 15 different targets as they went down the road. The catch, they only had 100 bullets. The top two shooters were safe while the bottom three were up for elimination.
Gary Shank was up first (and isn't he always?) and quickly found out how little time it takes to go through 100 bullets, hitting only four targets. Littlejohn was up next and his experience shined through, hitting eight out of the 15 and ending up with the best score of the night. He was followed by Kyle Sumpter who struggled, but did better than Shank, hitting five targets. Chris Cheng continued to show he had the ability to master anything Colby puts in his hands, hitting six targets, for the second best score of the night (spoiler alert if you can do the math and didn't watch last night). Augie Malekovich was last to go, and after a strong start lost his rhythm, tying Sumpter with five targets.
I'm not really sure why, but the contestants keep having team meeting despite not being a team. There has been more team meeting footage this season than any other I would hazard to guess. It sounded like it was going to be Malekovich and Shank duking it out, but once again, things didn't go according to plan on the range.
Littlejohn hit Shank's target and all three remaining red team members hit Malekovich's. Then it was Malekovich's turn, and it turns out ole Augie had a little bone to pick with the red team. He decided he was going to hit Kyle's target because if he was going to go to elimination, he was going to throw a little chaos at the red team. So with a tie for the second contestant to go to elimination, Shank and Sumpter had to go to a shoot-off. Shank went first, hitting just below the bullseye to the left. Sumpter got up to shoot and clipped Shank's mark, but was just outside.
Sumpter and Malekovich would face off using the FN PS90 carbine. In perhaps the oddest twist of the season, this challenge was not so much focused on shooting as it was on memory....and rope climbing. Apparently this was a recreation of some kind of Marine exercise, but it was still a little odd (more on this tomorrow). Each contestant would have a box filled with ten items. They needed to open the box look at the items, close the box, climb across 20 feet of rope, then pick up the PS90 and shoot the 10 targets in their box without hitting the other twenty they were set amongst (I'll admit, that was pretty poorly worded). They had to to all of that in 75 seconds. They could go back as often as they wanted to look at the box, but with only 75 seconds, they would need to budget their time. This was a hard challenge to follow as it required the viewer to also memorize the items in the box to figure out who was winning. As it always is in Top Shot, points were awarded for proper hits, and points were deducted for decoy hits.
When the contest was over, Sumpter had clearly hit more objects than Malekovich but it all came down to the final count. Malekovich had hit five targets from his box, while Kyle had hit three. Malekovich hit only one decoy bringing his count down to four but securing the win. (Sumpter hit four decoys bringing his score down to negative one)
So one part of my prayers have been answered as Sumpter is sent packing and I can look forward to one Sumpter free episode this episode.
What did you think of last night's challenges? Are you glad that Papa Bear was sent back to his cave, or did you think he still had some fight left in him? Hit the comments and let me know.
Come back tomorrow for my analysis of tonight's episode.