Boot Camp: Who's Getting the Boot? Episode 3: Battle of the Sexes?by David Bloomberg -- 07/10/2002
But that’s not the only battle at Camp. Thomson is battling his own body. As we saw in the previous episode, he has had problems with his hands and feet swelling up. Tests have now shown that it may be something with his heart, but he says he’s only 29 and in good shape, and can’t figure out what could be happening. Still, he’s in the game as he tells the women he will soon be 100% and will definitely vote with them, and Meyer (male) will come along because Thomson saved Meyer’s butt in the first episode.
Moretti (male, not to be confused with Moretty the female) is elected squad leader this time, though we don’t get to see any of the vote. He thinks he is well-rounded and strong, but Brown (female) calls him a perfectionist.
After a lot of physical training, push-ups, running, etc., Thomson is pulled aside and told not to do anything unless a Drill Instructor (D.I.) says it’s okay. He’s sent back to the doctor, where he is punctured every few hours so they can test his blood for oxygen levels and other indicators. He says he passed most of the tests with flying colors, but one showed the presence of enzymes in his blood that could cause permanent kidney damage. So for now, they’re not letting him back in.
Day 10 begins mission training, including dragging and carrying other people – the D.I.s make a point of saying you never leave your dead or wounded behind. Next is learning to drive and repair Humvees. During the repair portion, Meyer gets back into his old routine of faking illness so he can get special treatment. Standing out in the heat, he fakes passing out and thinks he fooled most people. Whitlow (female) knew it was faked and Wolf (male) thinks Boot Camp is really getting to Meyer. Also during the training, Brown really does get hit in the face accidentally by Moretti and ends up getting sick from the combination of the head shot and the heat.
As discussion of voting starts to come up, Wolf is quite clear that Meyer is going next. Yaney says he also plans to vote that way. But then we see some indications that maybe Wolf will be next, as he takes off his shirt and poses as if he’s a male model. Meyer, Moretty and Whitlow all comment on it, and Wolf actually gets in trouble with the D.I. for posing instead of working.
Later that afternoon, the squad is brought to a room containing their boxes of possessions that had been taken away back in the first episode. They are told that if they successfully complete the next mission, they will get to choose one item from that box. Moretty says she wants the photo of her family; Lauder wants one of his kids; Moretti similarly wants the picture of his wife and son. Yaney, on the other hand, wants his balloons (regular readers or viewers may recall that he is a balloon sculptor, and had one of his balloons bitten in half by a D.I. in the first few minutes of the first episode).
In order to get these things, though, they first need to successfully complete the mission – so next up is the briefing. The situation is that a scout team struck a mine and injured the soldiers. The squad has to get in and evacuate the jeep, the four casualties, and the three supply crates – all within 60 minutes. If they succeed, they get the personal item and Moretti, the squad leader, gets amnesty from the vote. There is no specific penalty for failure this time, other than not getting the item or amnesty.
Lauder, the oldest recruit, is the hero in this particular scenario. He gets people moving on fixing the jeep and then drives it around where it needs to go. The squad manages to successfully retrieve all the people and items with a whopping 30 seconds to spare.
So they go back to their bunks and find the rewards sitting on their footlockers. Most of them chose photos, and quite a lot of tears flow. Then we hear more about Hutak’s sister, who we learned earlier had died about five years ago, and find that she had been a high school senior and had been killed in an auto accident when she ran a stop sign. More tears flow all around.
Then it’s into the recreation room for a little relaxation and fun. Yaney puts together some huge balloon sculptures, including a heart for the women and something that looked like a balloon space suit. But the fun’s all over when the D.I.s interrupt and start their usual routine of screaming about how they lost their intensity. Jeez, guys, lighten up. We also find out that Thomson is still in the hospital for observation.
Day 11 dawns and begins early with a five-mile run. Yeesh, it’s a good thing Haar was voted out last episode – she could barely do a mile-and-a-half! We also get to hear some more strategy, as Moretti points out that people are starting to think more about the game aspects and less about the “boot camp” parts. Whitlow notes that Meyer has made himself accessible to the women and is willing to vote with them. For his part, Meyer says he’d rather kick out Wolf than anybody else because he is capable of winning the whole thing. Moving to Wolf, we find that he says there are only four people he can count on: Jaackson, Lauder, Moretti, and himself. And Jackson’s opinion of Meyer is that he’s “dumber than a bag full of dried leaves.” Wow – don’t hold back there, Jackson.
Meanwhile, in the medical building, things don’t look good for Thomson’s future at Boot Camp. In fact, D.I. Rosenbum talks about how he feels bad for Thomson because he knows Thomson really wanted to do it. Thomson says he feels fine, but Rosenbum responds that his body is saying otherwise, and they won’t jeopardize his safety. He adds that the D.I.s know he gave it his best shot, but it’s time for him to go.
So at noon, they have a discharge ceremony for Thomson. Thomson addresses the squad, telling them to stay in it and wishing them well. Meyer tears up, but is it true emotion or just the realization that Thomson was the only person that kept him in the game?
Day 12 is dismissal day, and a lot of politicking goes along with it. Wolf says the women are getting together to get rid of the leaders like him and Jackson. He even wants Meyer to help him out, which seems to astound Meyer. Wolf claims he has saved him time and time again, but Meyer points out that Wolf actually voted against him! Picky, picky, picky. Privately, Wolf says he can’t stand Meyer, and Meyer says Wolf dug his own grave and now the women will all vote against him.
Coming out of that discussion, Wolf goes straight to the women and starts yelling at them about how it’s ridiculous to plot against him. He pretty much attacks Brown and Brown calls him a liar. Then he says she has the other women wrapped around her finger. And then he apologizes. Oh, yeah, I’m sure that was sincere.
But the whole thing has a strange effect. Brown now feels betrayed by Meyer, because she thinks Meyer tipped off Wolf (we can’t really say either way, but Wolf found out about being targeted somehow, and I sure wouldn’t put it past Meyer to gloat or try to play both sides or something like that). So Brown no longer trusts Meyer and they decide they need a new strategy to make sure he doesn’t flip sides.
At Dismissal Hill, that strategy takes shape. Because Thomson was medically discharged, there is only one person voted off – he or she will not have the opportunity to take anybody else out, too. After they vote, D.I. Rosenbum does his standard bit of walking up and back between some of the recruits to yell at them about whether they will be staying or going. He asks Wolf why others might want him gone. Wolf responds that, much to the dismay of the D.I., this is a game and has politics associated with it. So, it’s unfortunate, but it’s all part of the game. Rosenbum next asks Meyer why he should stay. Meyer responds that he has tried to fit in and follow orders, and has been improving in discipline every day.
Rosenbum walks back up to Wolf in the way he usually uses to dismiss people. He says, “Recruit Wolf, you are … not dismissed at this time.” Wolf is visibly relieved at this. I’m surprised he didn’t get yelled at for not remaining at attention. Next Rosenbum walks back to Meyer and dismisses him. When those who voted for Meyer are asked to step forward, the entire squad takes a step up. It was unanimous (well, except for Meyer himself, who voted for Wolf). The women apparently found a way to make sure Meyer wouldn’t flip on them – they got rid of him.
I said back in episode 1 that the women would catch on to him, and they did. He thought he could play both sides and be liked by all, but he instead ended up being voted out by all. Maybe Jackson was right in his assessment of Meyer’s intelligence. Whatever the cause, Meyer is gone, and the battle of the sexes turned into unanimity.