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Fans that have complained about the first two episodes of “Stars Earn Stripes” can finally feel relief as the show finally gets its sea legs, settling down into an entertaining show that isn’t a mockery of the military.
The show takes a turn for the serious with the competitive spirits rising in this third episode. A new mission titled “Rapid Detonation” and new weapons to train with continues to test the Stars as they work toward earning more money for their respective charities. As of this episode, $150,000 has been donated to various military charities and this is a priceless irreplaceable experience for the stars who want to earn more than just a chevron patch.
This episode featured an expanded focus on the lives of the Stars and Operatives. In this case, Talon Smith, a U.S Navy Corpsman and his wife gave birth to his daughter¬†during the course of the show’s premiere earlier in the summer. There are a few moments during the show where he is featured talking about how Laila Ali’s charity for the Military Child Education Coalition might have impacted his family during the course of his military service. A touching moment to be sure, it does well to highlight the efforts of the charity work by the stars.
This show though, suffers from a lack of transparency that keeps many viewers guessing. The elimination format is nearly always the same and by now it’s no secret to anybody how to win and not get sent home. Yet at the same time, viewers don’t know exactly how close the other teams are to watching the elimination, which may or may not give non-contestants an unfair advantage. Viewers with questions just do not know how much behind the scenes work there is and that makes them wonder if everything is 100% fair.
Speaking of fairness and equality, thus far the show has given a slight advantage to the four man squads who have gone after the first squad in the elimination challenge. Knowing is half the battle and so the squads that go after the first team learn critical tips that might save time. The caveat though is that so long as the second and third teams communicate well and their run is flawless, this foreknowledge is useful. One wrong move though, and it doesn’t matter what sort of knowledge you have, you’ll still come in last.
The flip side of knowing beforehand how well the first squad did is a huge amount of pressure to place on themselves as both a star and an operative. In some cases it’s intimidating and in others it’s motivating. This all comes down to each individual team of operative and star. Communication is again key in order to shoot with greater accuracy and reduce congestion during the timed mission.
Many of the Star and Operative pairs have bonded through the trials and all teams have created great communication as each scenario has progressed. For example, the friendship between Actor Dean Cain and U.S Navy Sniper Chris Kyle; they have a friendship that has grown out of Deans’ awe-struck first impression and turned into a mutual respect for one other. There are also other examples such as WWE Diva Champion, Eve Torres, and Green Beret, Grady Powell, who exhibit a bit of chemistry but remain firmly friends. Both of these teams have a good time this episode as the winners of the “Rapid Detonation” operation.
Hopes for the show to be a long running entertaining success with an extended season is turning out to be fruitless since the two hour Season Finale is fast approaching next Monday. The show so far has kept on going with the same format so if this is true, the finale will open with another sudden death elimination right on the spot.
Sadly, the elimination format needs refreshing and some high octane fun for the finale. It is indeed up to the skill of the Stars to shoot their way to victory in the coming episode. The Stars doing the shooting is realistic but not too terribly entertaining since they lack the service of the real military service men and women.
Rating: 3.5/5 For a show that would have been better had it been longer, showing both an unrefined quality that is only now smoothing out just as the season finale starts being promoted, and a steep learning curve that keeps the stars from being truly entertaining.¬†