This is where Beauty and the Geek starts getting good: when the good teams start revealing themselves and the competitors start getting Machiavellian.
The teams who didn't have too much going on in this episode but seem like they'll have their moments later on are Shay and Joshua and David and Jasmine. Shay and Joshua couldn't be more different from each other, but there's something so endearing about the two of them, especially Shay's excitement when Joshua made a good showing at the massage challenge. David and Jasmine haven't started clicking as a team yet but something tells me that there's more to Jasmine than meets the eye, and with David, well, a guy who wears a cape for no apparent reason and who can admit on national television what sort of massage techniques his mom prefers from him certainly has a life on TV.
Who is not a good team? Sam and Nicole. Why they're still here is a mystery to me--it's unclear what each really stands to learn or gain from the experience. Sam's night-vision boot-knocking with Rebecca in the top bunk only stood to drive a wedge between him and his geeky teammate. Instead of discussing the experience with Sam, Nicole withdrew from her partner and declared that she needed to stay in the competition not for its positive values but that she can't stand to be seen as The Girl Who Got Sent Home After People Had Sex On Top Of Her. It would be nice if she learned to tell Sam to knock it off, but she's socially inept, and that's fine. But even if she's a geek, Nicole is just like every broad who blames the other woman when the man in her life starts playing around.
However, they won another challenge as Sam successfully launched his non-metaphorical rocket before anyone else (not to stereotype but there had to be some advantage to him as a guy in this one.) Rebecca had a near-meltdown as she realized she and Will would be sent to the elimination room after they lost this and the massage challenge, which they thought they had in the bag due to her massage therapy background. Sam selected William and Jen for elimination because apparently he thought Rebecca and Will could beat them. I didn't really know much about these two before but now they're one of my favorite teams too. William was determined to prove to Sam that his team wouldn't take the fall for a stupid TV romance, and his bitter resolve, plus Jen's sort of menacing dead eyes and monotone voice were somehow very appealing. They had grit, plus it was cute when Jen said "Don't get cocky!" when William started fist-pumping after the victory.
So Will and Rebecca, another good team was finally stopped. Although they were good in the wrong way for the show. They seemed a little too competitive and not warm and fuzzy enough: Will described going into "siege mentality" when they prepped for elimination, and Rebecca suddenly gave a rat's ass when she realized her relationship with Sam had alienated her from the other girls. And most strangely of all, she became suspicious after the elimination that Sam had actually set her team up by pitting them against William and Jen. It seems highly unlikely that Sam would be so smart to do this on his own--but if he is going to get all conniving and whatnot, it would be more entertaining to see him do so with Nicole than on his own.
--Was it a fun twist or simple laziness that the CW viewers got to select the challenges? I can't decide.
--I'm always a little entertained by the streamlined technology employed with the various screens during the elimination round. "Wow, what's happening to my TV? Oh."
--"The Final Countdown" was a wonderful soundtrack to the rocket challenge. It reminded me of Gob Bluth, Master of Illusion.
--I figured out what is weirdest about Sam's appearance, besides his eyebrows, shiny face and creepy eyes. His lips are the same color as the rest of his face.