Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Top Shot Recap: S4 E8 "The Mad Minute"


It can make or break a Top Shot competition, and it's the subject of tonight's Word.

No, wait, that's the wrong show. Sorry, I'm still reeling from the outcome of last night's episode.

The show opened with William Bethards reentering the house and red team expressing their confusion over why blue decided to send him in the first place. They felt that despite Bethards performance in the trick shooting challenge, he was still one of the best shooters on blue team.

On the range Colby introduced the shooters to the Webley Mark VI revolver, and also introduced them to the day's expert, Season 1 winner Iain Harrison. It was difficult to gauge how each team was doing coming out of practice. Chris Cheng discussed practicing loading the revolver because it's mechanics were not the same as most revolvers. While many revolvers have the chamber pop out the side to enable a reload, the Webly has to be cracked open. The editing for this part of the episode was a little shaky because there weren't many close ups of the targets to show how close the shooters were to the mark.

The team challenge was a straight shoot-off, not much unlike this season's first team challenge. There were five rows of six jars. The first team to hit all thirty of their targets would win. While the challenge looked like a fairly simple stationary target, Colby and the Top Shot team threw the contestants a curve ball by putting the structures holding the targets on a track that moved at a good pace from right to left.

Chee Kwan finally got a chance to shoot when blue team decided to change up it's strategy and sit Gabby (a move to be discussed in the analysis). This marked the first time in four seasons that a female contestant has been benched. Kwan was anxious to get back to shooting going first for the red team against Terry Vaughan. While Vaughan was faster on the trigger, Kwan's slow and steady pace resulted in more targets hit. According to Kyle Sumpter, this was red team's strategy for the challenge, and it was one that paid off in the end. Mark this one down as another blowout by the red team who hit all 30 targets to blue team's 18.

The graphic that popped up on screen after the commercial break, broke down how each blue team shot during the challenge.Vaughan was the only blue team member to make it to the the third round of shooting going 6 for 18 on his run. Greg Littlejohn went 5 for 12, Bethards 4 for 12 and Augie Malekovich brought up the rear with 3 for 12.

The blue team meeting was mess with Vaughan being the only one owning up to their mistake, which some might argue wasn't the biggest mistake of the challenge. He rationalized that by not having a strong start he set the pace for the rest of the match. Littlejohn proved he wasn't paying that close attention to the match by claiming Malekovich had had the best day and Bethards had had the worst, when in reality Malekovich had had the worst and Littlejohn had the best. Malekovich took issue with how long it took Bethards to take his shots, especially since this challenge was supposed to focus on speed. (There are a disgusting amount of "had" 's in that paragraph, I apologize)

The episode then took a short detour to focus on the red team gloating over the win and how good they were as the team.  Sumpter was doing most of the talking, taking pride in the fact that his team was not picking apart each others performances in the challenge, as he assumed blue team was. It was an odd route for the show to take, since they usually leave out what happens with the winning team while the losing team has their meeting.

At the elimination range it was Vaughan and Littlejohn once again heading to elimination with two votes each.

The practice session brought back Harrison, this time to instruct the competitors on another British weapon, the Lee-Enfield Mark III rifle. Littlejohn went first and Harrison showed of some truly amazing skills with his manipulation of the rifle.(Seriously, how good is that guy?) He showed Littlejohn and Vaughan the three different ways in which the could hold the rifle and work the bolt. The practice session looked pretty even, but Littlejohn seemed more comfortable coming out of it than Vaughan.

The challenge featured a special military twist. The competitors would have only one minute to take as many shots as possible at a target 200 yards down range, a challenge the British military reffer to as "the mad minute" (don't you love it when they say the title of the episode is in the episode?). Littlejohn went first, and, while inconsistent throughout his time with the weapon, managed to get six hits on the target. Vaughan was up next, and while he was able to get on target more quickly than Littlejohn, he struggled to get back on target after his first reload. That combined with a small struggle manipulating the bolt, kept Vaughan's score at six as well. This being Top Shot, the tie went to the man who had fired less shots, and once again, that man was Littlejohn.

There might be something ironic about the Brit getting beat by his own weapons, but I'm too upset to see it.

What did you think of last night's episode? Did the right man go home, or are you as upset as I am that Vaughan was sent packing? Or, third option, are you also like me, upset that Littlejohn keeps barely winning these elimination challenges?

Hit the comments and let me know. By the way, I changed the settings on commenting, so now pretty much anyone should be able to do comment without having to put in as much information as before.

Analysis is in progress, and believe me, there is a lot to analyze. Look for it tomorrow.

One more thing, Colby was not live tweeting last nights episode, so that is why there were no Top Tweets.

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