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'American Grit' recap: Cadre Riki Long loses team member Gill Morton


By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 06/26/2017 

American Grit eliminated the first member of Marine Riki Long's team, Gill Morton, during Sunday night's third broadcast of the show's second season on Fox.

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Gill, a 36-year-old from Vernal UT, was one of four members on Riki's team. After being chosen to compete in the "Elimination Challenge," Gill was the first person to fail and ring the bell, ultimately sealing her fate in the survival and military-themed reality competition series.

"They're both badass women and I went down with my guns blazing," Riki said following her ouster, referencing her two "Elimination Challenge" competitors Janessa Morgan and Hannah Koen.

"I just hope my kids are proud of me and I can't wait to see them. This has been the most amazing experience. I've grown here and met amazing people, but for what's gone on in my life, I need to be with my family."

In addition to Riki, the show's three other military heroes are Grady Powell, an elite Green Beret; John Burk, a U.S. Army Drill Sergeant; and Chloe Mondesir, a fellow Marine. In each episode, these four cadres are shown advising and leading their previously-selected team of contestants through a difficult challenge or obstacle course.

In Sunday night's broadcast, each team was required to participate in a boat race in which they had to pass through 10 buoy gates and attempt to make it to the finish line in first place.

In a twist, each cadre designated a team captain or leader, who guided his or her blindfolded teammates to the finish line. This challenge was about trust, as the team captains were responsible for navigation and good communication.

Riki's team consisted of Gill; Richard Mallard, a 32-year-old from Berryville TX; Carla Mireles, a 26-year-old from Chino, CA; and Scarlett Angelina, a 24-year-old from New Brunswick, NJ. Riki chose Gill as the team's leader.

On Grady's team were George Foreman IV, a 28-year-old from Houston TX; Herman Barr, a 26-year-old from Billings MT; Michael Wilson Morgan, a 38-year-old from Brooklyn, NY; and Gigi Gustin, a 20-year-old from Glassboro, NJ. Grady asked Michael to lead the team.

Chloe's team was comprised of Janessa, a 36-year-old from Los Angeles, CA; Shermon Braithwaite, a 22-year-old from Brooklyn, NY; and Alison Kempkey, a 36-year-old from Seattle, WA. Chloe asked Janessa to serve as the team captain.

Burk's team was made up of Hannah, a 23-year-old from Newburyport, MA; Melanie Mahanna, 29-year-old from Brooklyn NY; Chris Edom, a 48-year-old from Merrick NY; and Will Westwater, a 23-year-old from West Hollywood, CA. Burke picked Hannah to guide her team.

Grady's team ended up winning the challenge, so George, Herman, Michael, and Gigi were all granted immunity. Burk's team finished in second place, and Riki's team claimed third. Chloe's team finished in fourth -- and last -- place seemingly because the cadre did not have her team practice in water like everyone else.

Since his team was victorious, Grady got to select the three individuals from the other teams whom he wanted to see compete against one another in the "Elimination Challenge." Grady dubbed the team captains most responsible for losing the challenge since they were basically in charge, so he chose to have Gill, Janessa and Hannah duke it out in the challenge.

For the "Elimination Challenge," the three contestants were required to keep four large wheels spinning that were stationary and a short distance away from one another. American Grit host John Cena said this task came down to "efficiency" and explained that when a wheel stopped spinning, that person would be out of the challenge and booted off the show.

Burk and Hannah appeared to have a very effective strategy in that the cadre asked her random, fun questions to keep her distracted from exhaustion and muscle pain while she was walking or running from wheel to wheel. Burk also told her which wheel to spin at any given time. Although Hannah fell at one point during the challenge, she got back up and raced to a wheel in order to avoid her show departure.

One of Gill's wheels stopped turning after one hour and five minutes just because she was growing tired and slowing down; however, she never gave up. Riki was sad to see her team member go after putting in such great effort.

In this new season of American Grit, the cast is comprised of individuals looking to regain grit they had lost or find grit they never had in the first place.

Unlike last season, the majority of Season 2's cast is comprised of people who are not physically strong or athletic. These contestants are typically viewed as weak, materialistic, cocky, insecure, or vulnerable. Many of them recently experienced a tragedy or heartbreak they're hoping to move past.

The cast includes individuals dealing with disorders such as anxiety and OCD, crippling fears such as swimming, health issues such as being overweight, or sudden loss such as a partner cheating or a child dying. Going into the new season, each person had something to prove to him or herself as well as others who doubt or criticize them.



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