FEAR FACTOR Las Vegas (2/21/05)
by Fearless Frankie
How much do we LOVE the Vegas episodes? (Arms spread open wide…)THIS MUCH! First of all, Las Vegas just has a great energetic vibe that Fear Factor totally taps into. Second of all, competition is usually continuous - meaning that players stay up all night, just like everyone else in Vegas. This time a new twist was added. Players were paired up for competition. In the desert darkness, four teams of two met Joe near the "Welcome to Las Vegas" sign to see their first stunt. One team member would be handcuffed and hung from his or her ankles over 120 feet in the air. On "go", he or she would wrestle free from the cuffs and pull a ripcord which would send them plunging towards the ground. Down below, his or her partner would be waiting in a Fear Factor car - facing a ramp that rose up towards a huge wall of plastic barrels. Once the previously handcuffed person pulled the ripcord, the car ramp would ignite into flames signaling to the second team member to floor the car onto the ramp and launch into the barrels. Twin brothers Shawn & Shelby were up first. Both brothers were bus drivers in Queens, so obviously fear should not have been a factor for them!
Shelby started in the mid-air position, while Shawn got situated in the car. Within 15 seconds Shelby had the first handcuff off. Seconds later, he was free and released himself down to trigger the flames. Shawn gunned the car and launched off the ramp, flipping the car over and skidding upside-down through the barricade. Final time: 38.4 seconds. Dan & Sarah, who had been dating a little over two years, were up next. With the neon Vegas strip as a colorful backdrop, Sarah soon dangled precariously high above ground. Sarah focused on unlocking the cuffs and had both hands free in less than 15 seconds. This meant she dropped faster than Shelby, so Dan got off to a quick start with the launch. His final time: 21 seconds! Dan & Sarah were the new leaders. Blonde best friends Amanda & Amy were next. Amy chose to get handcuffed because she flipped a car in real life and was in no hurry to relive the nightmare. She did okay under pressure, but took longer than the others to pull the ripcord. Then it was up to Amanda to hurl that car! She did a good flip and her final time of 34.9 seconds was enough to have Shawn & Shelby nervous about being eliminated. Best friends and Brooklyn natives Melanie & Tiffani were next. Melanie knew that she had to uncuff herself quickly or they'd have no chance at a quick time. Meanwhile, Tiffani was nervously waiting in the car. As Melanie continued to fumble with the keys, Shawn & Shelby grew more and more comfortable. Sure enough, their time ticked by before Melanie could even free herself! Needless to say, Tiffani was totally annoyed. While they took a bickering walk of shame, the others headed over to The Excalibur for their next stunt.
The players regrouped in front of a large casino crowd and were thrilled to learn this was a non-elimination round. Instead the pair that won this poker challenge would get $25,000 in cash and a trip to Los Angeles for the premiere of The Amityville Horror remake. Soon a cocktail waitress arrived with hideous Fear Factor concotions. Before Joe explained the stunt, he explained the ingredients! On the beverage blender list: Egyptian spiders and worms; cow's blood; scorpions; red snapper fish eyes and eggs; habanera peppers with rattlesnake liver; and banana slugs. The teams would play for the best hand using community cards and drawn cards. To get their drawn cards teams had to each finish a "cocktail." (There was a lot of poker-type explanation and rules, but seriously if you want that stuff watch Celebrity Poker on Bravo).
In a random card draw, Amy won the privilege of deciding who would get which cocktail and in what order. Amy concurred with Amanda then revealed her choices. Sarah & Dan had to go first, with Sarah downing the scorpion martini and Dan getting the cow blood Bloody Mary. Sarah was a machine and sucked down that martini like it was apple flavored. Meanwhile, Dan finished his blood drink and noshed on a celery stick while Sarah tried to eat the scorpion and finish the challenge. Her mouth was black with ink and she almost puked a few times. Joe had the chuck bucket handy - and Sarah used it! Lucky for them, Dan was still in the game - but they would only draw one card (four of spades) instead of two. Next it was time for the twins to ante up. Shawn got dealt the rotten fish eye/egg Mai Tai, while his brother Shelby faced the rattlesnake liver/habanera shooter. Both boys rose to the challenge and powered through their disgusting cocktails. Next, Amanda had to deal with spider cider while Amy drank a banana slug daiquiri. Maybe Amy thought because the slug drink had the word "banana" in it that it would somehow taste good - but, um, she was horribly wrong. Both girls held their noses while they gagged on the drinks. Amanda worked the crowd and soon everyone was cheering the girls on! Amanda finished and drew her card (king of hearts), but Amy was running out of time and gag reflexes. With less than thirty seconds left, Amy gave up twice - but sucked part of the slug down at the very last second! Sadly, it wasn't enough slug in enough time.
So, Shelby & Shawn had the advantage since they were the only team with two cards (seven of hearts and four of hearts). Joe overturned the community cards and revealed the three of spades, king of spades, 10 of clubs, king of diamonds and queen of clubs. Since Amy and Amanda's one card was the king of hearts - they easily won the challenge and $25,000. Next, the group was off to Mandalay Bay for their third stunt of the evening. Each team would make their way across parallel cables suspended over 40 stories above the strip! While trying to balance and cross from one end to the other they would also have to toss weighted flags to each other. Dan & Sarah were up first and literally had to step out a window on one of Mandalay Bay's top floors in order to start the stunt. As Dan said, "This is nuts!" They inched their way across the cables, while trying to maintain balance AND catch flags. Dan & Sarah showed excellent teamwork, despite a few cases of the wobbles. They were eight-for-eight and ready to get the final flag when Dan lost his balance and slipped off the tiny cable. Their final time (based on when they clipped the eighth flag) was 5:48. After rejoining the group, Dan couldn't stress enough how HIGH up they were.
Amy and Amanda were up next. Amy took the outside position, which was a little tougher/longer, but faced the hotel. Amanda had her back to the hotel, facing the strip as they began the stunt. Both girls were shaking and both moved very slowly to avoid falling. However, they were also avoiding a good time. Amanda almost lost it after the second flag, but recovered. Still, the stunt had to be exhausting. A real "core" workout for all you yoga folks out there. After about the 4th flag, Joe explained that because of their slow time, they would have to get all nine flags in order to beat Dan & Sarah. The trick was that the last flag was just a touch further out of reach than the previous flag - which was part of why Dan fell. And it was exactly why Amy fell too! The girls were out, but at least they had won some cash at the poker table.
Shawn & Shelby started out well, but those first few flags were the easy ones. They were averaging about a minute a flag, which was not enough to win the stunt on time alone. Then on flag number four, they dropped a flag! Dan & Sarah did a little happy dance, but couldn't celebrate just yet. The brothers tried to pick up the pace and consequently dropped a second flag!! Now Dan & Sarah could really rejoice, because they had just won $50,000. Oh but the night wasn't over yet. As is Las Vegas Fear Factor tradition, the winners had to place one final wager with half their winnings.
Joe took Dan & Sarah back into the casino for their giant blackjack bet. $25,000 worth of chips on one hand! The dealer was showing a four, while the couple had a seven and a five. Not good, yet Dan said, "Stay." The dealer flipped a six, then hit with a nine. $25,000 GONE in an instant. And that boys and girls is why gambling doesn't pay!