Boot Camp: Who's Getting the Boot? Episode 4: An Unlikely Leaderby David Bloomberg -- 07/10/2002
Boot Camp, day 13. It’s 6:30 in the morning, so it must be time to fall out – and talk to the cameras, of course. We begin with Yaney, who says he didn’t think he could win, but now he realizes it’s anybody’s game. Jackson and Whitlow both share the opinion that now is not the time to be taking a leadership role, which could lead to being targeted by the others. Somehow I don’t think the Marines would approve of the idea of avoiding leadership. Ah well.
So, with everybody doing their best to get out of being in charge, Jackson nominates Brown as the next squad leader. She begs off and they all go back and forth until they settle on Yaney, the balloon sculptor. It looked like that old Life commercial with Mikey. Give it to Yaney, he’ll do it! He likes it! Yaney likes it! Yaney wonders aloud later, “How bad could it be?”
Drill Instructor (D.I.) Taylor walks up to the group and sees Yaney in the lead role. She admits she did a stutter-step when she saw who had been chosen. Yaney is not exactly seen as command material. Indeed, he hesitates even as he prepares to give his first orders to get ready for physical training.
D.I. Rosenbum approaches the group as they are doing their workout, sees Yaney in the lead, and asks, “Hello, recruits, what’d you have for breakfast, crack?” Like I said, not exactly seen as command material.
Meanwhile, another story is bubbling up in the background regarding Lauder, who, at 50, is twice as old as some of the other recruits. He says he wanted to make it halfway through, but his age makes it difficult. The others are worried that he is overdoing it, but he doesn’t want to let himself down, and also says his late wife is watching him and giving him strength.
At 3:00, mission training begins with learning how to rappel down a wall. They go up a 50-foot tower and, using a harness consisting of a rope and metal D-ring clip, rappel down the side. Hutak is fired up about it and ready to go. Indeed, D.I. Rosenbum says she possesses all the qualities they look for in recruits; she has the fundamentals down, moves with speed and intensity, and is a spirited young lady. For her part, she says she’s going to call the recruiter as soon as she gets home.
Coddington, though, says Hutak is too gung-ho. Of course, this is coming from the woman who has earned the nickname of “Princess” from Rosenbum and “Coddleton” from D.I. McSweeney because of the way she trots around and acted prissy and dainty. As they say, Boot camp is definitely not her lifestyle. As if to reinforce this point, she has problems with rappelling, though she eventually makes it down and does it again.
That evening, talk turns to voting. Jackson has heard rumors that Brown is rallying the women to get rid of the leader-type men. This is not news, of course, since that was a main theme last episode until they all ditched Meyer instead. But the main group of guys (including Moretti, Jackson, and Wolf) don’t want to target Brown because she’ll pull one of them off with her in retaliation. So they come up with a plan. If any of them gets booted, they will take out Brown. Even better, they tell Lauder the same thing, and emphasize that if he goes out, it will be because of her doing. Then they plot to vote off Lauder while Lauder trusts them implicitly. Devious, eh?
The next morning, Lauder talks to one of the women and says he and Yaney should vote along with them. It’s hard to tell if he’s playing the women or somehow knows not to trust the other guys. Hutak tells the camera that Wolf, Moretti, and Jackson have a hard time backing off, and all the women feel the same way.At 12:45, they are brought before a chalkboard to discuss the mission reward or punishment. They are each to draw a food on the chalkboard. If the squad guesses it, it becomes part of the reward for completing the next mission. Among the items drawn are ravioli, sushi, and peanut M&Ms. If they fail in their next mission, they get MREs (Meals Ready to Eat – really lousy military rations) for an indefinite time.
Which brings us to the mission briefing. The squad has to infiltrate enemy territory, rescue P.O.W.s, rappel down the building, and detonate an enemy watchtower – all within 45 minutes. Moretty says she hopes they succeed for themselves and their special meal reward, but also for Yaney. Even D.I. Francisco says he thinks its good for Yaney to be the squad leader because he wanted to push himself and see what he could do.
So it begins. Under Yaney’s command, they get in and find the P.O.W.s within five minutes. As they prepare to bring them out and rappel down, Hutak and Lauder have a brief disagreement in which Lauder thinks Hutak is being too bossy and she thinks he is overzealous. But in any event, Yaney and his team leaders (such as Wolf) get things moving quickly and rescue the P.O.W.s. Then the squad receives written instructions on how to wire the explosives. 22 minutes left.
They run through the tunnels to get to the tower, but the fuse line becomes tangled. Yaney goes out to set it but is having problems unraveling the line. Moretty tries to help but has problems, in part due to Wolf being a “showboat,” in her words. They finally get it all hooked up, but it appears that somebody kicked and disconnected part of it, so they have to go through the tangled mess to try to reconnect it. There are 23 seconds left when they all make it back to the bunker and Yaney blows the tower. Success!
So at 8:15 that night, they have their mission reward dinner. In addition to the foods mentioned earlier, there is pizza, s’mores, ice cream, and a host of other good stuff they haven’t seen in a couple weeks. They all drink to Yaney and his successful mission leadership.
But things never stay totally upbeat for long. That night, Coddington has to head for the medic due to swollen ankles – similar to what caused Thomson’s discharge last week. The medic is concerned, which makes her concerned enough to break into tears.
And then the next morning, we find that Yaney is being punished with pushups while D.I. Rosenbum screams in his face. Why is the successful team leader being punished? Because he came back without his harness. Losing equipment does not make the D.I.s happy.
But did Yaney really lose it? Brown tells the camera that Wolf stole Yaney’s harness after he left his behind, and she can’t believe he isn’t admitting it. Wolfe says that’s the goofiest thing he’s ever heard. Later, Yaney asks Brown if she knows what happened, and she says yes but she wants the guilty party to admit to it. When he presses her, she says it was Wolf. Yaney’s problem is that he knows Brown and Wolf are after each other, so he doesn’t know what to believe.
That evening they are all discussing the missing equipment and Yaney says it’s one thing if he knew who it was, another if he doesn’t. He says it’s his squad and he has to take responsibility. D.I. Rosenbum tells the camera that it’s an interesting twist because even the D.I.s don’t really know what happened. He asks Yaney who he thinks took it, and Yaney responds that it could have only been one of four people: Moretty, Jackson, Wolf, or himself. Rosenbum tells us that the scuttlebutt is that Wolf did it, but he wishes he knew for sure.
To try to find out, a couple of the D.I.s pull Wolf aside and scream at him about it for a little while. Wolf tries to defend himself by saying it’s ridiculous and says he would take responsibility if he had done it. That doesn’t stop them from continuing to yell at him, though. Even Jackson, Wolf’s pal, says the problem is not that Wolf isn’t acknowledging a mistake, but that he’s denying even the possibility that he could have done it.
Indeed, Wolf denies even having taken off his harness. Cut to a shot of him doing exactly that – taking off the harness while getting the explosives instructions.
Then we see a shot of Yaney stripping off his harness at the bunker before he runs back to help fix the wires. Then there is one of Moretty sliding out of hers in the tunnels. Coddington says Wolf and Yaney both came out without harnesses, and Wolf asked her to hand him the one on the ground; she did, and now thinks that was Yaney’s.
But then we go to the tape one more time. We see Moretty standing in the bunker with a harness on. But we also see Moretty’s harness still sitting in the tunnels where she dropped it. It wasn’t Wolf at all, but Moretty who lost the harness and ended up with somebody else’s. And there is no indication that any of the recruits nor D.I.s know this.
So it’s off to Dismissal Hill. Will the accusations against Wolf cause him to be a target? Well, only Yaney is safe, due to having been the squad leader of a successful mission. He addresses his squad and tells them that although they lost gear and he took a lot of heat for it, it doesn’t matter because he is so proud of the squad.
D.I. Rosenbum does his usual routine of pacing around to several of the recruits, asking them why they should stay around. Lauder says he is a huge asset in the missions. Wolf says he continues to be a leader even though in this game leaders stick out the most.
Lauder is dismissed. He receives votes from Wolf, Brown, Hutak, Coddington, Moretty, Moretti, Jackson, and Whitlow. Only Yaney voted for somebody else – Whitlow, which just shows he’s totally out of all loops when it comes to voting. And Lauder himself voted for Jackson, indicating that perhaps he did not have the full trust in Wolf that he claimed, and might indeed have been serious about joining the women in targeting the leaders.
He gives a quick talk in which he says he did his best and didn’t expect to be pushed as hard as he was. He wishes them luck and then selects one recruit to take out with him. Rather than picking Jackson, who he voted for, he says he doesn’t like pushy women, and only one woman has acted that way: Hutak. So the woman who really wanted to be in boot camp ends up being pulled out because of Lauder’s old-fashioned mentality.
The fact that he pulled out somebody different than he voted out indicates that his vote for Jackson was supposed to be a strategic one. It’s quite possible that the women told him this was who they’d be voting for – either because they didn’t want to tell him the truth (that he was next) or because they didn’t trust him and thought he was still sticking with the other guys. But once strategy didn’t matter to him anymore, he decided to go with his feelings and take out the one woman who might actually belong there.
Well, just as success on Survivor doesn’t necessarily depend on your actual survival skills, Boot Camp doesn’t necessarily depend on your military abilities.
The promos from next week indicate that the Drill Instructors finally snap. They’ve apparently screamed once too often and their brain cells have just given up. So they throw things around and scream even more, and at least one of the recruits finally isn’t going to take it anymore. This should be amusing. See ya then!
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