Man down! At the end of the first episode of the final we see Paulie collapse to the ground. While most of his teammates were carrying the gurney after eating a scorpion and swallowing a live grub worm, Paulie stood back and let his teammates take the gurney. Granted, he was carrying the relic because the gurney was broken, but he wasn’t doing the heavy lifting. After three laps, this task proved to be too much for him. He couldn’t see straight, started cramping, and by the end he was lying on his back in the dirt.
Things are not looking good for Team USA. Firstly, Paulie is stalling them with his collapse. Secondly, the gurney is broken and the team is carrying sandbags off the gurney, a clear violation of the rules. Thirdly, there is a purge coming and three teammates will be gone from the US team.
After a long season of cutting strong players to preserve his alliance, Paulie is the one who is not performing in the final. Could this be a death sentence for him? Or even for Team USA?
While it’s not looking good, I wouldn’t rule Paulie out yet. Most likely he’s suffering a fate similar to Wes on Rivals and Zach on Free Agents: Cramps. Add in a little bit of panicking and you have a seriously derailed player. However, a quick break may allow him to continue. It’s not like he has to do anything other than walk, so he should be able to get through final leg of the first half.
Then, there’s also the fact that Team US is carrying their sandbags. They’re already violating the rules. Paulie may be sucking, but the team isn’t even doing what they’re supposed to be doing. They’re pretty much screwed anyway.
I think Paulie will get back on his feet, but I think he’s going to be a weak competitor. The Purge may claim him as a victim. If it doesn’t he’ll probably be a really slow competitor on the second half of the final. Think of Wes on War of the Worlds 1, he exhausted himself the first day. The second day he was slow and lethargic. He finished, but his time wasn’t great. That’s the performance I expect from Paulie, and that performance may not be strong enough to survive a Purge.
If Paulie rebounds and win this final it’ll be one for the record books. Perhaps the biggest come-from-behind victory we’ve ever seen.