• A bunch of people run around South Dakota solving clues. • NBC barrages the general public with repeats of the first two hours of programming in a desperate attempt to improve ratings. • Bravo stops airing Queer Eye episodes for a moment to generate more interest in this show. • NBC shows an hour-long recap, just in case anyone missed the previous twelve repeats.
Before we get into this episode, I want to make something clear. I've watched a lot of reality television. I've seen it all: backstabbing, critical mistakes, questionable strategies... The works. However, there are so few TV shows these days which fully exemplify the key strategies to actually succeeding on reality TV programs. Luckily for us, the following episode of Treasure Hunters demonstrates the Six Helpful Objectives for Reality Television Shows, which I affectionately call SHORTS. Anyone who embraces SHORTS is bound to succeed at reality television. Trust me. I know what I'm talking about.
After the mystical credits roll by, we revisit the teams stuck in South Dakota, America's 48th most popular state. The remaining teams are staying at a camp to eat, sleep, and mingle with the other teams. That is, until the next leg starts, which could be somewhere between six to twenty-four hours away. The teams aren't really sure, but don't trust the evil NBC executives. Therefore, most of the teams have opted to sleep in tomorrow's adventurewear.
At 2:20 AM, as the teams enjoy their first and only REM cycle, they finally receive their phone call from the Mysterious Robotic Host. He tells them about the travels of Lewis and Clark, who traveled across the western lands for some reason. Poor Sacagewea don't get no love from nobody. The teams will follow the route laid by Lewis and Clark to travel to the Lexington Mines in Montana. However, instead of groovy covered wagons, like in Oregon Trail, the teams get nifty Toyota Tundras.
First, teams have to grab a key and find the matching car. Because, you know, those Treasure Hunter producers have to make everything slightly more complex and difficult. But only slightly. Even the Hanlons could figure out the "Where's the Toyota Tundra Key Go?" challenge. Team MissUSA solves this puzzle first, followed closely behind by Team AirForce.
The Hanlons, not surprisingly, depart last and immediately begin arguing about directions. 'LilHanlon, or "Josh" for short, tells us that once his papa thinks he's going in the right direction, there'll be no changing his mind. Until, of course, they reach the Canadian border. Even then, he gets some cheap meds, so everyone wins. PapaHanlon considers listening to BruthaHanlon, but that guy got wasted in Amsterdam, so his opinion doesn't count. Of course, this is coming from someone who considers Oklahoma as the Unorganized Territory. Welcome to the 1840s, folks.
As PapaHanlon consults a map, the first three teams have arrived at the Montana Mines: AirForce, MissUSA, and the Fogals, in that order. Now, according to the Mysterious Robotic Host, teams need to enter the mine and find a hidden chamber, which holds their next clue. Because the mine is so narrow and treacherous, teams may opt to leave their fattest team member behind.
All three teams enter the spooky mine and immediately start playing with their sparkly flashlights. They find some buckets hanging on the wall, with some nearby water. Then they see another bucket, covered in snakes, with the message "Bend the Light" etched into its side. MissUSA and the Fogals depart to find some bendable light, while AirForce quickly solves the puzzle. They pour some water into the bucket, thereby refracting the light to reveal a message. It says "Wood Bottom, Missouri River, Montana."
As AirForce leaves, the Mysterious Robotic Host explains that teams must now drive 150 miles to the location and canoe 20 miles down the Missouri River. The canoe must be on the banks by dusk, or the teams will have to wait until dawn to proceed.
Meanwhile, the next three teams (GradStudents, Geniuses, exCIAs) arrive at the mines. While they enter, the Fogals have finally solved the clue, and leave MissUSA behind. MissUSA is pretty upset about this, having to solve the clues with their pretty little heads of theirs. At least they solve it on their own. The Grads, Geniuses, and exCIAs have this crazy notion about "teamwork," "camaraderie," and "plagiarism." Basically, the Geniuses wow the others with their supreme Physics knowledge, and all three teams move on. Finally, all those Friday nights of not-getting-laid has finally paid off for them.
Since all great things come in threes, and all the strong/good/decent/tolerable teams have left, we'll have to settle for the Southies, Browns, and Hanlons now. As usual, the Hanlons have gone into Everything-Is-Suspicious Mode, so they begin decoding the various markings on the cave walls. See these funny looking cracks on the walls? If you cross your eyes, it kinda looks like the word "Portugal." Lisbon, here we come.
As the Hanlons keep decoding, the Browns are on the right track. They quickly solve the riddle. On the way out, they find the Southies, who are rabidly attacking a stone wall. Fearing a potential cave-in, the Browns give the clue to the Southies. Or it was the Southies' irresistible Bostonian accents. Hey, it seemed to work for Boston Rawb on Survivor.
The Hanlons, meanwhile, are becoming very frustrated. PapaHanlon says that this is more fun than a barrel of monkeys, and he's about to shoot all the monkeys. That's right, papa. Making a intelligible metaphor is easier than shooting fish in a barrel. Which, for PapaHanlon, is very, very difficult.
In case you were wondering, AirForce has arrived at the canoeing site around 5:40 PM. Unfortunately for them, it's past 5:30, so they won't be able to canoe until dawn of the next morning. Seems like a funny time for "dusk," if you ask me. This isn't the Yukon Territory, folks. Daylight lasts longer than four hours. Despite all of this, in grand TAR fashion, all the teams are bunched together.
That's assuming, however, that the Hanlons can solve the puzzle by dawn. They've spent eleven hours in the mine, staring at the buckets and the dripping water. That's not a typo, folks. Eleven hours. Does it really take eleven hours to solve this puzzle? There's only three useable things down there. You've got (1) a bucket with a kinda-cryptic puzzle, (2) other buckets, and (3) water. Lots and lots of water. Lots and lots and lots. The clue could've been "Just Add Water!" and they'd be stumped. I seriously wonder if these three are capable of making hot cocoa. Darn you, confusing Swiss Miss packets.