As some of you may know, Gogogadget831 is reviewing every episode in the series. However, due to the negative light this episode was painted in, I just couldn't find myself agreeing with almost anything in that specific review. The solution? I'll make my own review, with blackjack and hookers! But in all seriousness, this is going to be a generally positive take on an episode that I think is in the upper echelon of Total Drama episodes. Try to read all of it before you comment.
Following the rather funny recap of what is another episode that gets way too much hate (I might go over that one in the future too), we get to a conversation between Gwen and Courtney. This event kind of already gives an indication of maybe why Duncan decided to ditch Courtney... because she's overbearing? I mean, that list isn't exactly anything new from Courtney. They've already broken up twice for a reason, and that just adds on to the evidence of why. Duncan isn't completely unjustified for cheating on her, and Gwen definitely has the right to be worried over the entire situation, which I think is projected well here. Plus, we're only a minute into the episode and, honestly, Gwen already has done more than she does in a majority of the other episodes of the season. It's a nice little conversation to start the episode off, and both of them make it clear in their confessionals that, while they get along, they aren't exactly great friends, so nothing long-term is really being ruined here.
After that we get to pan off to the greatest team ever. And one line in, they show why they are.
"Noah don't eat the poison stuff its poisonous!"
I love you Owen. The friendship between Tyler and Alejandro is a bit random, but it makes sense. Owen even explains why just in case it wasn't implied. The tension between everyone, along with the limited knowledge from most of the cast, is really what makes the beginning of the episode so interesting. Duncan, Alejandro, and Tyler, like Courtney and Gwen, project it well.
Chris is hilarious when he's talking about the challenge, both before and after they get there, and some of the contestant's reactions are too. Here are a few of those lines.
"Prepare for challenges of amateur caliber."
"Wrong, fictional, and... what?"
"Everyone should probably hang onto something... everyone except you."
"That was just a quirky fact, not an order."
Chris killing interns has been present since the dawn of the show, and it's still hilarious here. Cody not getting called a man is always funny too. It's nice to see him get more recognition at times, even if this is occasionally the only way they can do it outside of Sierra.
"Perhaps Tyler and Gwen are secretly dating?"
I know for a fact Alejandro wants this to be the truth. Why does no one ship these two again? Seriously though, they can incorporate humor even when there isn't something awkward happening between Gwen and Duncan. Not that those moments can't be good either, though.
"Gwen's had a crush on Duncan since season one."
Okay Sierra, that's a bit of a stretch. Though I really do miss when the Gwuncan fanbase that Sierra mentioned existed. Or when a fanbase for anything existed without getting constantly ridiculed. I miss the good old days of the wiki :(
I really loved the idea Chris had to make Duncan sing every line he had, and Chef hitting him with the towel. They did not give him any leeway on that, which is nice in-episode continuity. I also loved the addition of the spartan battle horn being a kazoo, too. Sometimes it's the minor things that can be really funny.
After the transition, we get to the spartan battle, which I enjoyed overall from the start. Cody starts it off by just getting destroyed by Owen, and watching him get launched that far was pretty funny. As an aside, it's kinda weird that people think that Duncan gets away with stuff. All episode he's getting brutalized by the boar bear, hit by a towel, or other things. He honestly gets in situations where he gets hurt pretty frequently. Though, not as often as Tyler, who is pretty much just made for being a failure. That's why I like him so much though, and he doesn't fail to amuse here.
"Just stay out of the way, pipsqueak!"
I find it weird people feel bad for Courtney so often. She just flat out bullies people. But this does let Owen win, which is nice. Courtney recovers from being knocked out surprisingly quickly though. Chris pretty much says all you need to know after this.
"In a world where Owen can win a gold medal, do The Amazons really stand a chance?"
Owen and Chris are killing it this episode so far. Song wasn't my favorite, but I still liked it and the scenery, as with most of the songs. I do kind of wish that Alejandro wasn't chilling in the background listening to the whole thing though. I think he could have figured out something resembling what was going on some other way, and it is a bit disappointing that some antagonists have a tendency to do this. It's worth mentioning this happened in TDI too though, particularly in Search and Do Not Destroy when Heather saw Gwen and Trent kiss iirc, so saying this is something exclusive to Alejandro's general method of execution is false.
Christ, Alejandro is way too flexible. Was that even necessary? Gwen and Chris couldn't have said it better, though he does make up for it by losing. For all the skills he has, his overconfidence does get in the way of him actually succeeding every now and then. It's part of the reason why I like his character so much.
Side note: I really wish I could jump as high as Alejandro and Heather. Those are some really high hurdles.
Now that I think about it, why would a tiebreaker even be mentioned at the beginning if there were only three challenges? Remember: the brawl was originally supposed to only award one medal. Oh well. Also, Courtney, I think Gwen is allowed to be concerned about Duncan being DEAD. Oh well, I think it's been made clear Courtney doesn't even know the implications of being dead. I mean, listen to all those death threats she's given across the series.
And now, with less than four minutes left in the episode, it's the moment you've all been waiting for (or not?): Tyler reveals his secret. More on that at the end of this review.
Anyhow, Cody knocks out Duncan, and Chef continues to pile on Duncan for not singing. Every instance of him speaking in the episode was covered, which is nice. And then Cody PUTS THE FREAKING TEAM ON HIS BACK and decides to win it anyway. What a beast of a man. This also means he's now won two challenges for his team in the series (Super Happy Crazy Fun Time Japan is the other one), which happens to around the same amount as if not more than some of the other people on his team, despite the criticism he gets for not winning challenges (bear in mind Courtney has not won a single challenge yet).
"You don't get to cheer!"
Even in tense moments like this, people can still be funny.
"I don't believe it, not even a scratch!"
I don't believe it either. Then again, some people seem to be impervious to damage on the show. Granted, Tyler usually isn't one of them, which is probably why I don't believe it.
"OMG, your fans are gonna lose it!"
Not gonna lie, I was happy when this first happened, even though I was a fan of both characters. I wasn't as happy as Sierra though. I wonder why Courtney waited until after the conversation ended to cry.
How does Owen even fit in the confessional? Or through doors in general? I always love Chris's explanations for why someone is about to get eliminated, especially in this season.
"As if I'm gonna send Duncan home when the fun's just getting started."
I'd like to comment that he's got a point. If Duncan left right after this... what would be the point of even bringing him back? We needed a drama starter in a season that had been great but hadn't had very much of it at this point, and he provided it, so he did serve a purpose. Making him go home right here would be a bad personnel choice, and that's ultimately why he eventually left once there wasn't any need for him instead. He stays out of the crucial final four area and he was needed in Niagara Brawls due to the challenge choice.
Now that the episode is over, I can finally go over the love triangle in this episode. Here's the thing: while it was a big part of the episode, bear in mind that it wasn't until near the end of the episode (almost 19 minutes in!) where everything was actually revealed. For the most part, it was just building up to that moment. When you combine the foreshadowing, the tension, the way the hints were given out, and more, you cannot tell me that they left something unturned. Literally everything regarding the event was addressed here, and the characters didn't turn into the type of characters they were during the love triangle until the very end of the episode. Even then, there are a lot of other moments in this episode that are worthwhile. How about Owen and Chris being hilarious in practically every moment of the episode? How about the challenges, all of which were creative and stellar? How about the characters that weren't involved in the issue until it was revealed completely like Heather (though admittedly, she was quite minor here), Sierra, and Cody? Or even Tyler and Alejandro when they were not actively involved? Only Courtney, Duncan, and Gwen were seemingly involved at all times, and even then, Duncan still had his thing with Chef, and you had Courtney during the brawl. There are tons of things going on that aren't about the love triangle, and while most of them were in a more humorous light, you need to expand your horizons past Gwen (the only one who did nothing unrelated to it) to see it.
I don't think the characters were awry in the entire plot, sans Gwen to an extent, but I don't see how characters not awry here at all. Gwen was more involved here than she was in any episode in the season other than arguably The Am-AH-Zon Race and I See London..., and otherwise she has just barely been involved in anything. Easily the least out of her team up to this point, and even everyone on Team Chris is Really Really Really Really Hot had at least established themselves as comic relief characters if they weren't that involved in a plotline. Gwen in Slap Slap Revolution in particular was the least involved I've seen a contestant in an episode in the entire season. It gives her something to do, and up to this point, she didn't really have anything to do that wasn't directly involved with another contestant, all of which seemed to be more relevant towards the contestant in question than it was her. I give the love triangle a lot of credit for making her at least involved in something. Courtney may have acted a bit mean here, but this is the type of character she has been for quite a while. Duncan was the same character as he always was. Everyone else, due to not knowing about it, was the same character as always in this episode.
Finally, remember that nobody except Duncan and Gwen have an idea of how it went down. Tyler only saw that Duncan and Gwen were in the process of kissing, and therefore that's all anybody else knows too. Gwen and Courtney/Sierra are on the same team, so it's easy to see why Gwen is getting more of the criticism from her teammates. Duncan gets hammered by Courtney whenever they interact (bear in mind they do not interact in this episode), and ultimately there is nothing that the members of Team Amazon can do about Duncan, so they focus on the one that they actually have the capability of eliminating. Owen, Tyler, and Alejandro are completely unaffected by this news and therefore do not disparage either of the two. It's not that Duncan is getting exempt from the anger of Team Amazon, it's just that, for all they know, both of them are equally involved and only one of them will actually be affected by their actions.
Regardless, I loved the challenge, the episode was hilarious throughout, and the tension made you want to keep watching. Even if you don't like The Ex-Files or Picnic and Hanging Dork for the love triangle, which is fair I suppose, don't hate on this episode (or I See London...) merely for introducing it at the end. There is a lot more to this episode than just that event and it is possible to just ignore it as a result, because at this point the bad blood hasn't settled in yet. And even then... the entire conflict between Gwen and Courtney lasts for a total of two episodes and an additional three minutes in this episode, and then that's all of it there is in TDWT. That's less than 10% of the season! Duncan and Courtney being a conflict afterwards is mostly just what we saw in TDI when they didn't get along, so that isn't anything new. And they don't even mention Gwen at all during this portion, they just hate each other and neither of them (not just Duncan) gives each other any respect. But almost none of that is part of this episode anyway. So you should like Greece's Pieces for its other traits even if you didn't like the conclusion. I thought it was excellent, and aside from some minor flaws, it is one of the best episodes of the season.
I give this episode a 9/10.