Welcome to Camp Brainstorm and Company Street! Company Street is brought to you by the numbers “13”, “23”, “3”, and “4”; the letters “Alpha”, “Bravo”, “Charlie”, and “Delta”; and the words “evolution” and “total mission failure.”
Recapping from the beginning: Combat Missions opened with the promise of highly trained soldiers successfully accomplishing exciting and difficult military missions using their skills and experience. After four episodes, we’re still waiting for this promise to be kept.
Colonel Rudy Boesch is the Camp Brainstorm commander. Col. Rudy explains why he is the camp commander: “I owed Mark Burnett a favor after he got those Survivors to change their vote from me to Stacy Stillman, so I agreed to come and babysit this bunch of testosterone-filled, over-the-hill wannabees.” Col. Rudy then addresses his troops, saying “I’ve randomnly divided you into squads. I’ve randomly put the old, over-the-hill guys in Charlie. The SWAT guys have been randomly put in Bravo. The hotheads and crazy types were randomly put in Delta, and the hotshots with big red “S”’s on their chests were randomly chosen for Alpha.”
The episodes are called “evolutions.” As everyone tries to figure just what the heck an “evolution” has to do with the military, we realize that MB’s real goal is to provide us with school lessons. The first lesson is on the real meaning of the word “evolution”, and the dictionary provides us a clue: “Evolution: 1 : one of a set of prescribed movements.” It’s hard to believe that the movements of these guys could be “prescribed”, but we’ll accept this lesson at face value.
Col. Rudy instructs Sergeant Major Voiceover to assemble the teams. Sgt. Maj. Voiceover has the distinction of being seen, and being heard, but never at the same time. Even when his lips match the words we hear, it’s a voice over. MB’s second lesson is to show off what he can do with voiceovers and shooting extra scenes to add visual effects.
The teams fall in, running up Company Street, and we get our first clue why these guys are here and not still in the military: They fall in vertically instead of horizontally. Sgt. Maj. Voiceover tells us that the two winners of the first challenges, Bravo and Delta, will compete against each other this time. “The squad that wins takes sole possession of first place.” he astutely observes, rightly assuming that anyone watching this show won’t have the brains to figure that out.
The Sgt. Major dismisses them and they run off. They may look highly motivated, but they’re really just trying to get off-camera as quickly as possible so they won’t be identified with this show.
Oops, one guy is in trouble with the colonel! Helveston from Delta is our hotheaded unprofessional soldier. Col Rudy admonishes him for apparently speaking his mind to another player on his own team. Oh, the humanity! Col. Rudy should know that this is properly handled by a blanket party in the night. Geez, MB, if you want to show some discipline, stage a couple of guys getting into a fight over one of the barmaids… oh, never mind, MB knows we’d NEVER buy that story after seeing the barmaids of Camp Brainstorm.
Meanwhile, Helveston plays the big mea culpa. “Well, colonel, they told me to get my big mouth in gear to get some excitement for the show, then come in here and take a butt-chewing to make it look like I need discipline.” Col. Rudy says “Don’t let me see you in here again.” Then Col. Rudy tells the camera he can administer any forms of discipline up to expulsion from the show. “I can make them hold on to an idol for countless hours or crawl through sand with sand fleas in it, or even expel a man.” says the camp commander. Oooh, the power rush Rudy must be feeling! Of course, if the troops REALLY knew they could be expelled just for yelling at each other, they’d be having constant shouting matches in an attempt to get away from here.
Bravo prays in their tent. Being mostly SWAT guys in a military operation environment, this is a good idea, as they’re going to need all the help they can get. One guy tells the camera that Delta has a great team. Another observer says that Delta has great hair care products. “They have great hair care products.” says the observer.
Not really, but it is the first contest. Sgt. Maj. Voiceover explains that the teams must put together one of several U.S. or foreign weapons and fire a round downrange. It would be better for this show if they could fire at each other, but alas, we can only dream.
The Delta squad quickly moves through their assigned weapons, but Bravo stalls on the foreign weapons. You’d think that these SWAT guys have seen these weapons more than the Green Berets and Navy Seals, what with the drug pushers on the L.A. streets wielding AK-47s, but apparently our SWATS didn’t learn how to assemble them. Delta earns 25 extra points, not for winning, but for resisting the urge to put those poor Bravo SWAT guys out of their misery with their assembled weapons.