This has been a surprisingly difficult episode to write about and I have put it off for a while. I hate to see people I like and respect upset and this episode had several unhappy people. On that note I want to talk about the contestants in general.
I have a ton of respect for all the contestants and I owe them a lot. I have stayed in touch with most of them and consider them friends. We obviously could not have a show without them but it is far more than that. We have 12 contestants and 11 of them will lose. Not only will they lose but they will be expected to talk about it afterwards. They will also have to talk about their friends losing. Their shooting and behavior will be filmed and shown to all their friends, families, everyone in their archery community and thousands of strangers. Then everyone will judge them; their shooting, what they said, how they acted, etc. This judging will be all over the internet and local range. It is a pretty mind blowing idea and it hangs over you every moment of the competition. And, of course, you are away from everything comfortable; friends, family, pets, your own bed, your bow shop and the list goes on and on!
Now I know that some of you are think “Oh cry me a river, you signed up for this, no complaining now!” and I agree with you! They did sign up for it and I am not asking for any pity. It was an incredible opportunity but I still wanted to take a second to tell the contestants, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, You Rock.
Back to the episode, the razorback relay with the Bionic Boar Nock Out round! This was our first 3D challenge, which I know many viewers were looking forward to. Watching this episode was cool because I didn’t actually see the archers shoot until now. The path the archers ran curved to the left and I stood at the left side of the path so I could not see the shooting stake. We open up the episode with a summary of the previous episode then the Title Sequence. Then we start into my explanation of the challenge. Basically it is a relay. The archer runs to the shooting stake, shoots two arrows at their target and runs back. The purple team is down a player so someone will shoot twice, They picked Norm. The whole event is timed then we use the scores of the arrows to remove time. The lowest time wins. The value of the arrows count for a lot because we wanted the shooting to be the most important factor. The running tests general fitness but the biggest thing is that it raises the heart rate which simulates those important shots when your adrenaline is pumping.
This was an unmarked course but a number of viewers noticed the archers were not shown estimating yardage or moving their site. I am so impressed that people are really paying attention. The episode is very short so not everything was included obviously. (Hopefully the show will be so successful that next season we will have a full hour). Before running the team was able to walk down to the shooting stake, judge the yardages as a team, assign who will shoot which target, set their sights and put down their equipment. They were given exactly 5 minutes to do all this and our course judge MJ timed them. Then they returned to the start line and the relay started. This was all filmed but didn’t make it into the final cut. If you think about it, it really makes sense that we did it this way.
I will not go through the challenge arrow by arrow because there is are great graphic in the show giving the times and scores of all the shooters. But I will hit a few highlights.
Connie was really concerned about running so I am really surprised to see the amount of hustle in her run. Norm is one heck of a runner!
I had no idea that Steve had misunderstood where to aim until I saw the interview. He was so chill explaining his mistake, you gotta love Steve for that. Zelly’s shots were amazing! To see those 11 right next to each other was really cool. Interesting side note, Rowdy’s mic pack fell off like three steps into the run which is why I asked if he was feeling ok after he crossed the line.
The FALL! None of us saw it. We heard he fell and raced to the line to see if we could see him. We were worried that he was seriously hurt but Laurie was able to confirm that he was up and running. I am not sure if you can see it but the road very slightly dips down and I guess Ric just kept running straight ahead, like the Wilde Coyote in the cartoon.
Then we see a summary of the scores and Purple team won!! As Josh said , they just out shot everyone else. And it’s off to the nomination range. I had an opportunity to talk with the competitors before they nominated anyone. I am naturally very curious so I loved chatting with everyone but then comes the hard part; nominations. The red team had already made their decision. Based on Zelly’s interview they chose Tony because Steve already did his part and Zelly shot so well that she didn’t deserve to go. So it was between Rowdy and Tony and Tony stepped up to say it was his turn. At least I think that is what she meant. Agree or disagree?
Lastly, the blue team’s nomination. I don’t think it is fair to anyone for me to put too many of my own opinions into this situation but I can say this for a fact, Laurie was very hurt and upset. I have a lot of respect for people that are authentic and what you saw was exactly how she was feeling. It is not my job in life to tell others how to feel. This is an attitude that I often adopted when people were upset.
We were not able to get all the discussions on camera because it would require a crew at least 3 times bigger (once again this may change in upcoming seasons) But I think all the points of view showed up in the interviews. All the facts are there if you really watch, listen and pay attention to what was said. I have watched the episode several times and each time I notice something new. I feel that it very accurately portrayed what happened while still leaving the final decision up to the viewer. And the viewer’s opinions vastly disagree!
After the challenge the teams knew they were going to have to nominate someone. There are not really any places on the ranch indoors were you can be guaranteed privacy so often we would see pairs or groups of archers all over the ranch in deep discussion. Sometimes they would be a whole team, sometimes a few members of a team and sometimes you would see a pair from different teams. Apparently Ric, Matt and Fred all came to Laurie’s cabin to discuss who should be nominated and Laurie felt that they had already decided it should be her. She really felt that it was because she was the only female. Ric states that he did have an agreement with Laurie not to vote for her but he felt it was him or her. Fred heard she was going to vote for him and that was all he needed. Laurie felt there was a ring leader, who do you think it was?
Can I be super naïve and admit that I didn’t realize there were alliances until they mentioned them? I knew they were going to happen but to realize there were already alliances and I missed them was a shock! The crew had a lot of people on it; sound guys, camera people, set builders and more but the production team making the decisions was small; just a few of us and we were so busy that we missed a lot. The production team had crew meetings, picking the filming locations, reviewing the set, interviewing archers, telling the crew where to be, double checking all the challenges to make sure we had covered all the rules and possibly questions the archers would have and setting up to film each location which took at least an hour or even longer and this episode had 3 different locations if you don’t count the interview locations. I would often stand-in for myself, the archer and the non-shooting archers so the cameras could set up the shots. Heck, my hair, makeup and wardrobe took at least an hour a day. We were busy from morning until night. The archers had a lot of unsupervised time to practice and talk. They were often surprising me with what they said and did on camera. You can usually tell when I am surprised because I have this blank expression on my face. My point is that I never seemed to fully know what was going on until it happened. In a way I am proud of that fact because it means that the archers were doing what was natural to them.
Wow, I am really dragging this blog out. If you got this far then I owe you a cookie or something. Up next, The Nock Out round which was a Bionic boar. You really need to treat this type of target as just a normal target and aim for the orange but in reality it is tough to forget about all the steel waiting to destroy your arrow. I agree with Zelly, I don’t think Laurie threw it on purpose but at the same time her heart was not totally in it. The wind was pretty bad for Laurie and it was her team that brought up holding an umbrella to block the wind. Tony was eager to hold the umbrella for her and it never seemed to cross his mind to say ‘No’. Laurie’s team was pretty vocal about cheering her on from the bench. In the end Laurie missed and Tony hit and that was that.
Thanks for reading and if you have any questions you can leave a comment, post on the Nock Out fan page https://www.facebook.com/NockOutTV