Boot Camp: Who’s Getting the Boot? Episode 7: The Final Fourby David Bloomberg -- 07/10/2002
It’s down to the final four, and the second-to-last episode, in Boot Camp. We begin as they sit around the fire pit shortly after the previous episode’s vote. Whitlow talks about how she is sad to see Jackson go, but Moretti (the guy) says he couldn’t trust him. Wolf, meanwhile, is thinking that he can’t trust Moretti because he’d said he would never vote against either of the other two guys – and then aimed at Jackson. Of course, Wolf himself voted for Moretti, but Moretti doesn’t know that. Got that?
Before we can get any more twisted into knots, it’s Day 26 and time for the 6:00 wake-up call. The Drill Instructors (D.I.s) are going nuts again – yelling, screaming, throwing things around, jumping on the beds. D.I. Francisco says it’s time to mess them up a bit as they come down to the end. Oh, so you were being nice to them up until this point?
The messing continues when they get to breakfast and find none. The mess hall has been closed and the are given Meals Ready to Eat (MREs), which they will have to ration until after the next dismissal. D.I. Francisco tells us that a person isn’t the same when he’s hungry, so this will test them.
Next, the new squad leader is picked. Since Moretti, Moretty, and Wolf have all had the chance already, it automatically goes to Whitlow. The D.I. specifically says that he hopes they will give her the same support as all the others – unless they’re a bunch of backstabbers. In other words, don’t blow the mission just so she doesn’t get immunity. Wolf and Moretty both privately say they would never intentionally screw up a mission. Moretty points out that you have to have some integrity, even in a game like this.
After going through the obstacle course, we get into the evening, when they are trained for night navigation and survival. They have to build a fire and learn what they can eat. So the D.I. shows them how to eat a worm and then passes them around. Whitlow and Moretty slurp one down quickly, but Wolf just does not want to go there. He gets grossed out just from picking it up, let alone putting it in his mouth. But eventually he does it, and passes the bowl on to Moretti, who quickly gulps his down.
The next day is mission day. At 2:30 they are told of the reward for success and punishment for failure. Reward is a night at the Ritz Carlton hotel for the night. Punishment is sleeping in the dirt. Ritz or Pitz.
Their mission is operation H.E.R.O. – Hostile Environment Recon. Operation. It is supposed to test the squad’s ability to work together as a team. At night, they have to travel five miles and stop at three checkpoints. The first requires making a sandbag bridge; the second involves rappelling down a steep ravine; the third entails the team walking as a group on sand rails. The final objective is to get to a military base and get further instructions at that time. They have two hours.
The squad gets to the first checkpoint quickly and fills and uses sandbags to step across the area. Wolf takes the lead in explaining how to do it quickly. At the second point, Wolf again takes the lead in getting down the ravine and doing recon. At checkpoint three, they all make it easily. With 22 minutes left, they have a mile to the military base. They arrive with about five minutes and have to find four glow sticks. Whitlow sends out the team to look in different places. Moretty ends up finding two and Wolf finds two. They all run back to the jeep and make it with a little over a minute left – success!
So Whitlow is automatically in the Gauntlet by virtue of getting immunity for leading the squad to victory. Wolf, in his usual way, takes credit and says he single-handedly saved her. But he doesn’t need to tell the squad, they know it. Well, maybe not – Whitlow says the squad did use his speed and intensity, but they did it as a team, not because of him.
So they all are brought directly to the Ritz Carlton hotel, in their full gear and camouflage and paint and dirt and grime. Moretti just wants food, but the D.I.s say they were promised a night at the hotel, not more food. So it’s just MREs for them.
On day 28, they get to sleep until 8:30 before wakeup call. D.I. Rosenbum notes that the beds are made so well that you can’t even tell anybody slept in them – which tells him that they “got it.”
Since MREs are running low, the D.I.s bring in an “MRE supplement” – a full Ritz Carlton breakfast. They all chow down, with Whitlow saying this is the best reward yet. Moretti talks about how happy he is to be in the final four with the others as opposed to those who went before them.
Before they leave, D.I. Rosenbum asks if any of them kept any food. They all reply that they have not. Rosenbum says he will tear them up if he finds out that they lied.
Well, guess what? A mint is missing from a pillow, so it’s time for a full search. Everything is dumped – packs, lockers, you name it. Eventually, D.I. McSweeney finds the missing mint – in Whitlow’s stuff. Obviously unhappy, they yell at her for being a liar and subject them all to extra physical punishment. At the end, D.I. Rosebum tells her that he is ashamed of her and says not to tell anybody that he trained her because he’d be embarrassed. But, let’s face it, there likely won’t be any game repercussions because Whitlow still has immunity.
In later interviews, we start to hear from the players about their strategies for the coming vote. Wolf says the game, by its very nature, is ruthless and that whatever strategy he used got him to where he is now. Moretti says that Wolf himself is the ruthless one. Whitlow says she wants Wolf to go because he’s the most dishonest person there. Moretti says Wolf has never violated his trust as far as he knows (as indicated earlier, he doesn’t know that Wolf voted for him last time). Moretty says Wolf is the only choice.
As more discussions and interactions are shown, Moretty tells Moretti that Wolf shouldn’t be allowed to make it to the Gauntlet – he’s 22, self-centered, and arrogant. Moretti says Wolf is a good person, but needs to understand how to deal with people. Wolf says he is so close to Whitlow that she’s like a sister – she would take a bullet for him. Whitlow, however, says she wants him gone!
After a ceremony involving putting away the flag to represent them all, they head to Dismissal Hill for the vote. Whitlow, as squad leader, addresses them and says they utilized all the lessons they’d learned in operation H.E.R.O., and each will leave with those lessons. As the final four, she says they are all heroes. Oh, jeez.
D.I. Rosenbum goes through his routine of asking each person who might be voted off various questions. Today, the only one he skips is Whitlow, who can’t go tonight. Finally, he comes up to Wolf and whispers in his ear, “Guess what? Want to take a guess?” Wolf says, “No, sir!” Rosenbum responds, “You’re still here. It’s not you.” Wolf heaves a sigh of relief as Rosenbum moves over to Moretti.
Moretti is dismissed. All three of the others voted for him (although we were certainly led to believe they’d vote for Wolf). Moretti addresses the squad and says he’d be lying if he said he wasn’t surprised. But he understands it’s a game of strategy and they outstrategized him. The final four is the most special placed to be, he says, because in the Gauntlet, each will be alone. He most regrets that he has to take one of them with him, because he feels a friendship for all of them. He only hopes that this person understands that it’s nothing personal.
With that, he picks Moretty, because even though Wolf has his shortcomings, he best exemplifies what they have been doing in Boot Camp. It’s nothing against Moretty, and he reiterates that he hopes they can still all be friends.
With that, Moretti and Moretty leave together. D.I. Francisco announces that the Gauntlet begins now.
So next week will feature a two-hour final episode, in which Wolf and Whitlow compete in a variety of grueling events, and then have to face a vote of the recruits who were discharged (not voted off – the other ones). It should be interesting.
Check out our Boot Camp page for our full list of articles about the show.