Last week I got one comment on my episode recap. Brandon B. answered my call for some real combative entertainment by letting me know there will definitely be some at the semi-finals. That’s not last night’s episode, however. What did we get in the second quarter-finals instead?

Cue lovely stringed music and…a promise that bonds will grow stronger between team members, brothers, teams, and families. So whose bonds proved victorious? In heat 1 we had Saddle Up, Mathletes, and Ninjas. Heat 2 had the Better Halves, Kid Courage, and Stunt Junkies. In honor of the bond I have with my son who is a physics and math major, I went with the Mathletes in Heat 1. For the bond I have with my own autistic youngest son, I went with Kid Courage in Heat 2. Let’s see what happened.

The Barrel Roll was a three-way tie up the hill. Ninjas had a slight lead into Table Tilt. Saddle Up stayed right with them into the Mud Humps.   The Mathletes adorned thongs in support of their captain. But only he was brave enough to wear just the thong. The others wore theirs on the outside of their outfits. I believe this non-binding, failure to go all the way may cost my team pick. While all three teams were on Tire Swing at the same time, the bonds of mud, rubber, and rope did not seem to hold back the Ninjas from keeping the lead

The Ninjas were well into bonding the pole into the puzzle pieces by the time the Mathletes cruised into second place. While the Ninjas enjoyed a face first bonding experience with the mud in the Army Crawl, everyone else fell further behind. At this point, will the Mathletes finish time be enough to keep the wild card? Or will they fail at the slip wall and let Saddle Up take it from them?

The Ninjas ran a clean race except for some blood on Captain Michelle Warnky. Indeed the bond between bone and muscle failed the Mathletes with a shoulder dislocation. But they fought through the pain and truly bonded together to work a solution that kept them in the running with an 18:31 finish.

In Heat 2, Kid Courage sprinted to an early lead on the Barrel Roll. But the Stunt Junkies dropped their barrel into the pit right there with them. They then flew past up to Table Tilt. Kid Courage technique put them back into a tie with the Stunt Junkies. Each team leaped from hump to hump in the mud. At the Tire Swing, the Stunt Junkies took the first leap of faith from the tire. They had all five team members across by the time Kid Courage had just one. The lead opened way up. At this point, I think Kid Courage will have to work hard to beat the wild card time.

The athletic capabilities of the Stunt Junkies gave them a sole commanding lead as they finished Puzzle Pole right as Kid Courage finally got off Tire Swing. The Better Halves did not necessarily struggle through any obstacle. They were simply outclassed by the other two teams in terms of power and technique.

The Army Crawl slowed down the Stunt Junkies enough to allow Kid Courage to enter the mud right on their heels. It was all up to the Slip Wall. There is no bonding with this monster. It is wet and muddy and steep. Its name is truly apropos (a poetic word to salute the word Meister in the first heat). Stunt Junkies succeeded in holding on tight to the Slip Wall to earn first. Kid Courage wasn’t even on the wall by the time SJ passed the finish line. Will they be able to beat the wild card time?

Although they performed flawlessly on the Slip Wall, time ran out and so the Mathletes were bonded formally into the wild card slot going into next week’s semi-finals. There will be one heat. Will the Ninjas, Mathletes, or Stunt Junkies simply entertain us or emerge bound in victory?

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