THE BEST OF THE THREE! Season 1 set the bar. Season 2 finale looked really scripted. Top gun definitely earned the season 3 title.
The episode fits the well established formula for the finale. First there is a three heat dueling tree, then call shot and the finale consisting of many challenges throughout the season. It's a good formula and it works. Even better with two representatives from each of the original blue ("winner") team and red ("loser") team.
Ok they mixed it up a bit on the dueling tree by making them move. The movement was slow enough that they might as well have been stationary. I don't think it was a factor. Still in each heat, one shooter clearly established an early lead and then merely had to follow behind and flip plates as their competitor flips a plate. Justin avoided elimination in a decisive 12-0 victory.
The call shot challenge was again the best ever, made so with the shots called by the competitors. Dustin established an early lead hitting a golf ball at 100 yards with a Volquartsen 10-22 prone. You could see it was comfortable for Dustin (deep breath, exhale, hold it, squeeze, break the shot, follow through) and he nailed it. Nicely done and the competitors couldn't match the call. That's what this event is all about.
Mike's calls played well to his pistol strengths. S&W .357 weak hand unsupported was a good call. Does Mike have a weak hand? And the AK-47 call strong hand only hand, unsupported was genius. Great job Gary connecting when the chips were down. But then he missed his own call and put himself out.
Before we get to the finale, one thing I was happy to see in the final rounds was the level of mutual respect between the competitors. No braggadocio, no disrespect, just proud to be here and wish my opponent the best of luck. This is more like the attitudes I've seen in competitive events. Even the fiercest of competitors wish good luck to their opponents and shake hands when it's over. Glad to see Jake go, clearly his strategy was pure Machiavelli. Didn't surprise me when he walked instead of facing the challenge. Character matters and he has none. I wonder what lessons he passes along to his football team in search of a win.
It's interesting to see the one "loser" resurrected earn a spot in the finale. No heartburn for me... Jake walked off the set and Mike came back and earned his way back in winning sequential challenges, decisively so on the zip line and dueling tree.
Dustin's flawless finish suggests he would have won even if Mike didn't get stuck on the shotgun station. Mike's weapon is the pistol. If he didn't get stuck on the shotgun, it would have been the recurve bow. Dustin's weapons are all of them. The best shot won season 3.
In Season 3 was the best yet. It was great to see the gatling guns and cannons come up in the elimination rounds. I see those and wonder how will they top this next season? How long before we see competitors trying a ground attack mission from nose of an A-10 Warthog, or some ACM (airborne dogfighting)?
Still it wasn't without disappointments. I was sad to see the two wimmen competitors sent home first. Are the challenges set up to put females at a disadvantage? I don't see it but a good blog-friend suggests there may be a bias and would prefer to see gender specific events. Guns are a great equalizer which allow a frail 80 YO defend her/himself from an 18YO thug so I would like to think M's & F's compete on an equal playing field. But is that so? There is more to the competition than just the shooting. Is there a bias? I don't see it but that is far from the last word.
As Justin said, these events are things I would pay to do. I concur and that should be a hint to entrepreneurs out there. Over dinner a couple years ago the SCQueen blurted out "we should open a range"... In the discussion that followed, I suggested one of the things it should have is an old fashioned shooting gallery. You know, stuff to make shooting fun! Shall not be questioned recently posted about a new indoor range at a former big box retailer. The $5M price tag answers why we have not proceeded with this idea (we are a little short). Still I'd love to see someone else run with the idea.
Disclaimer: advocates for the History channel sent me a bit of Top Shot swag:
- A pair of T-shirts.... Size L that would have fit me 30 years ago. Too bad because I really like the shirt.
- A Top Shot cell phone cover... that doesn't fit my phone.
- And a Shot Glass that I am proud to put up on the wall.
- Oh and they sent me some other swag apparently by mistake, all stuff representing a product I'll never buy and they won't get a free plug here.