JEFF PROBST IS THE BIGGEST FACE IN PROFESSIONAL WRESTLING
The camera focuses in on the Las Vegas strip where a helmeted motorcyclist is tearing down the pavement. He’s doing a wheelie now, and it’s as sick as you’d imagine. The bike blows through a red light, weaving in and out of crossing traffic, but out of nowhere, it’s one of those big trucks that transports a load of cars, only this one is empty, and the back of it makes a ramp.
The motorcycle goes up this ramp, and the driver flies off the bike and grabs onto the hanging ladder of a helicopter. Instead of climbing up the ladder, he just holds himself up by one bicep, looking cool. The helicopter does some maneuvering, and it’s right outside the top of the MGM Grand.
The man on the ladder swings his momentum, leaps through the air, dropkicks through a 28th floor window, tucks and rolls, and lands in the middle of an island themed set where a confused collection of Survivor Participants (some holding invitations to this very room) have gathered. The mysterious man takes off his helmet. It’s Jeff fuckin’ Probst–well, a Jeff Probst impersonator, anyway (heretoforth referred to as Jeff Probst), and he looks absolutely fantastic for being 60 (or however old the impersonator is. You don’t have to be the same age as the person you’re impersonating to legally impersonate them. He can hit though.)
Jeff Probst: Survivors, congratulations and welcome to the Final Four. I’m your host, Jeff Probst, and before tonight’s challenge, I wanted to reward you all for making it this far.
A tribe of Las Vegas natives enters the room, each one carrying a cloche with the Guy Fieri Vegas Kitchen and Bar logo on it. Behind them, a troupe of Jack Sparrow impersonators swashbuckle in, each clutching top shelf bottles of the main types of liquors.
The natives lift the cloches: Trash Can Nachos, Lobster Lollipops, Double Barrel BBQ wings, Bacon Mac N Cheeseburgers, and for dessert? Seven layer dark chocolate whiskey cake.
Jeff Probst: In addition, the winning team from tonight’s challenge wins a 2022 Buick Envision Avenir with a 2.0 liter turbo engine, Front Park Assist, a Bose 9-speaker premium audio system, and a 10.2” diagonal Buick Infotainment System.
There’s a smattering of applause as the far wall lifts up, revealing a fully loaded Envision Avenir. Nobody’s going apeshit or anything, but you can tell that on the inside, all 8 remaining competitors and Future Nova are absolutely stoked about the luxury SUV with 52.7 cubic feet of storage capacity. Future GBJ is dead, otherwise he also would be excited. Alive GBJ is holding him up underneath the arm, and Nova is standing between the pair of Johnny’s and Future Nova.
Jeff Probst: That being said, dig into the food, have some drinks, and for one team, enjoy one last reward before you’re eliminated. Probst out!
Without skipping a beat, Probst turns on a dime, somersaults out of the broken window, and pulls a ripcord in his jacket that unleashes a parachute. Meanwhile, back in the MGM Grand, GBJ is housing a Bacon Mac N Cheeseburger as Future Nova taunts the general audience.
Future Nova: I don’t know who the fuck that asshole was, but me, Johnny, past Johnny, and past Nova are going to be cruising out of here in style in our new Buick.
Future Nova walks over to the SUV, kicks a tire, and whistles.
Future Nova: And there’s not a damn thing any of you can do to stop us!
Enter a schmuck, who has apparently taken the “maze” concept of this week’s competition a touch too literally.
If you’ve never seen the 1986 Jim Hendon classic “Labyrinth,” then this reference is going to be lost on you. First, that’s a problem you should fix, and then good luck ever getting the lyrics to “Magic Dance” out of your head. Congratulations, now you’re cursed forever.
In addition to his mask, King Blueberry has taken it upon himself to do a little light cosplaying. A flowing, frilly white shirt is complemented by gray pants so tight that you can probably guess his religion if you look close enough at his crotch (but please don’t; he is very insecure about this). This would explain the blurred circle that the viewers at home will see. The blond wig he sports looks as if the essence of glam-rock band Poison was boiled down, distilled, and then dumped on top of his head in a frenzied yellow mess. The transformation from Jared the Blueberry King into Jareth the Goblin King is complete.
King Blueberry: I mean, maybe? But then you have to worry about getting that thing back to wherever – uhh, whenever? – you’re from. Also have fun paying the taxes on that in future money.
Propped against a wall rests the body of the son of Super Cool Guy, who is also dressed for the occasion, though in his case that consists of a blindfold drawn over already-lifeless eyes. This is probably why a red-tipped walking stick has been duct taped to one arm, and why the other arm has been bound to the leash of an aging golden retriever with the name tag “Quasar.”
King Blueberry: Serious question though – how the hell did a car get up here? I mean the dude with the somersaults and parachutes is one thing, and I can kinda hand-wave the time travel stuff, but how the fuck did a car end up on the 28th floor? The mind reels.
You can hear the next individual that approaches well before they actually show up on screen.
Joe Fontaine: Hey hey HEY! Nice wheels! Man, I can’t wait to win this so we can drive it off the 28th floor and fly it into the danger zone!
The camera pans just to Blueberry’s right, revealing that the Winds of Change are standing right there. It’s like they suddenly teleported in through the powers of narrative. Don’t think about it too much. Never think about it. Anyway, Joe is wearing a shimmering yellow suit, so gaudy that he’s too gaudy even for the lavish Las Vegas nightlife. Sid is wearing his singlet, because it’s the only thing he knows how to wear for these sorts of occasions.
Sid Phillips: If you try to fly this thing out of the 28th floor, I’m not coming with you.
Joe Fontaine: I mean, how else does the winner get it out of here? I bet this baby’s got jet engines or something.
Sid Phillips: I don’t think you understand how aerodynamics work.
Joe Fontaine: Sure I do! Jet equals flight, baby!
Joe turns, and his eyes meet those of El Hijo del Super Cool Guy. We think. He doesn’t really have eye… well, anyway, at the sight of him, Joe literally jumps two feet into the air and lands in the kind of crouch you might see from a stealth game if you’re trying to stay out of sight from a guard.
Joe Fontaine: OH JESUS WHY IS THAT THING THERE HOLY GOD NO.
King Blueberry: He’s on the guest list.
Quasar, unable to contain his canine urges any longer, sprints towards the food. Super Cool Guy, still tethered to the dog, is yanked off of his feet and sent sailing through the air in Joe’s direction. Maybe it’s pity, maybe it’s the blindfold, but fortunately for the young mister Fontaine, he is spared the wrath of the mannequin’s Canadian impulses.
The dog chomps down on a burger.
King Blueberry: Great. Now I’m going to have to explain to Thad why his dog’s got the runs later.
Joe isn’t there any more. He flees screaming away from the scene. His screams are definitely manly and don’t at all sound like a little girl. Yup. Sid watches him go, shaking his head, then turns to King Blueberry.
Sid Phillips: …Yup. Definitely powerbombing you later.
Walking past the fleeing Fontaine is Fighting For Nora. They are not wearing any sort of costumes, but Paxton Ray does have his blindfold around his neck like a kerchief. He wrings his right fist, which is bandaged, as the two men walk up to the other Survivors.
Jonathan Rhine: I feel…out of place.
Paxton Ray: Wonder why that is. Not like we’ve been surrounded by morons since this entire thing started.
Rhine stares at King Blueberry, Sid Phillips, and the Past and Future Somethings and opens his mouth.
Jonathan Rhine: We…
Paxton Ray: Nah, bud. Not this time. You ain’t gotta say nothin’. I got this.
Paxton steps up to Phillips.
Paxton Ray: You’re young like me. You’re strong like me. But you’re not fearless like me. And you got an idiot for a partner. My partner’s about as interestin’ as a cardboard cut-out, but he ain’t an idiot.
Jonathan Rhine: Hey!
Paxton Ray: And you. Hacks to the Future. Not sure what kinda weird futuristic time shit you’re on, but just make sure you don’t bump into me when you’re feeling your way in this maze, ‘cause I’m punchin’ anythin’ that touches me.
He then looks over at the Goblin King Blueberry.
Paxton Ray: And you…I sure do hope you bump into me. Prayin’ for it, honestly.
Paxton slaps Jon Rhine on the chest.
Paxton Ray: Me an’ him? We’ve watched you idiots run the show for weeks. In stupider and stupider contests. But the way I see it? We only gotta get through two more of these stupid contests, and then we’re in the ring. And I can’t wait to find out which of you morons I’m gonna get my hands on.
Paxton Ray cracks the knuckles on his left hand, then walks away.
Jonathan Rhine: So, uh…good luck, guys.
Future Nova takes a break from trying to hotwire the Buick to flick off Paxton Ray, following his tirade against all his fellow participants. While regular Nova is just relieved that it’s provided another distraction. On the other side of the room, GBJ drags Future GBJ–both with beards full of seven layer dark chocolate whiskey cake remnants–over to the imposing Sid Phillips.
GBJ: Say, blood. You’re the fellow that powerbombed me at the last challenge, right?
Sid raises an eyebrow inquisitively.
Sid Phillips: I’d say that’s a pretty safe bet.
GBJ: Listen, man. My friend here’s a little shy, but he’s a really big fan. He was wondering if you’d do the honors on him.
Sid looks at Future GBJ, and shrugs. He’s had stranger requests asked of him in this whole thing, after all. He gets him up into position, and then spikes him with a jackknife powerbomb. Sid roars and raises his arms into the air.
Sid Phillips: Aw, YEAH! Starting things off ri– uh…
He pauses, and looks down at the corpse by his feet.
Sid Phillips: …Doesn’t he stink a little more than usual?
GBJ: I think he had one too many lobster lollipops, and crustaceans don’t agree with him. You probably knocked the sh–
GBJ is interrupted by Future Nova, who breaks past regular Nova and storms over towards the commotion. Nova isn’t far behind.
Future Nova: What the hell was that?
GBJ: Calm down. I think Future GBJ might be out cold, but I’m going to take him back to the hotel room and let him get some rest. You and Nova stay here, enjoy the party, maybe even do the challenge with just you two. You had such good chemistry on last ReV!
Future Nova: Oh, no you don’t! You’re going to stay here and we’re going to teach this big ugly lug over here a lesson or two.
Future Nova points at Sid Phillips. Sid looks at Future Nova and smirks. Nova and GBJ look at each other and shrug. Nova and GBJ look at Sid Phillips and each gives him a signaling nod. Sid gives Future Nova a kick to the midsection and follows it up with a powerbomb for good measure.
GBJ: Thanks, man.
Nova: Yeah, we really appreciate it!
Garbage Bag and Nova drag off their futuristic counterparts in opposite directions as Sid shrugs, not sure really what just went down.
Sid Phillips: …I mean, I’m not going to argue with getting to powerbomb folks, but that was capital-W weird.
Blueberry saunters past him. Not by choice. Those David Bowie pants are super tight, and every step tugs in all the wrong places.
King Blueberry: So we’ve got the threat of powerbomb and now punching to look forward to. Cool. Cool cool cool.
He unhooks the leash from Quasar’s collar and pulls at the slack to drag the blind mannequin down the corridor. For his part, Quasar seems unaffected by this, perhaps too distracted by the delicious mask of barbeque sauce that coats his muzzle.
King Blueberry: Anyone else want to get on the list before all the good spots are gone?
The King whistles a “c’mon, boy” to the retriever, who steals one last bite of chicken for the road. No bones, though. He’s been trained well. There’s a subtle limp in the dog’s gait; the lasting effects of an unfortunate encounter with a Pit Viper over a decade ago.
King Blueberry: Going once…? Twice…?
Sid Phillips: I could threaten to powerbomb you again, if that works for you. Kinda the only thing I got.
Jonathan Rhine: I got nothing.
The camera zooms out real fast with a really cool effect and then just as quickly, zooms back in with the same effect. Now we’re inside a control room inside a submarine. In addition to the SONAR monitor and its steady beeping, there are several other monitors, all different camera angles on the remaining Survivor participants. Shorthand identifiers are taped under each monitor: Sid, Joe, KB, GBJ, Pax, etc. Jeff Probst is watching the monitors with various clipboard carrying assistants flanking him. He looks displeased.
Jeff Probst: I guess we’re going to have to save the hell out of this in post. Probst out!
Jeff Probst quickly puts on a deep sea diving suit and some kind of seaborn propeller before entering the airlock and blasting up to the surface of the ocean.