Last night we were treated to a special hour-and-a-half episode of 'American Gladiators.' To my knowledge, this was not divulged beforehand, so I had to scramble and make sure 'Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles' was being recorded for later since I would be missing the first half of it.

Anyway, this was the first episode of the tournament – so no new sob stories and hopefully a better performance in the events. This is what was delivered for the most part, although one female contestant went out of her way to make sure there were plenty of tears to go around.

The men's side had Evan, the youth counselor/rock climbing instructor going up against Anthony, the New York firefighter. This really felt like a match-up for the finals, as Evan had the fastest Eliminator time and Anthony was generally the strongest contestant. Unfortunately, these two had to face off in the semifinals.

After the Powerball event Anthony let us know that he had twisted his knee up in the preliminaries and lost some lateral movement. Despite this, he certainly kept up with Evan. The highlight for the men was Joust, where Titan knocked Evan off in two seconds before smacking Anthony down afterwards. Then Hulk mentioned how big Titan’s thighs were, and the Gladiator shook them around for the audience – it's times like this when I wish I wasn't watching in HD.

In the end, Evan was too much for Anthony, burning up The Wall and through the Eliminator with a record-breaking performance in both. If he wins and becomes a Gladiator, I don’t think anyone would be able to get to the top of the wall when paired against him.

On the women's side it was Shanay, the wellness trainer, against Siene, the gymnastic instructor. While the competitions were up to the level we expect this season, Siene ruined everything. After every single event she bawled to the camera while talking about herself. Luckily for us, Shanay stormed through the Eliminator and knocked her out of the tournament.

One odd occurrence was the way the hosts referred to the prizes for the tournament winners. While they obviously mentioned the $100,000 cash and the SUV, they now say, "The chance to become an American Gladiator next season." I don’t recall that being advertised before, and the way they said it makes me think that the producers fear either a weak winner that couldn’t become a Gladiator or a contestant that doesn’t want to become a Gladiator. It just came out as rather odd and obvious that there was a "maybe" to this whole new Gladiator thing.

Next week, four more contestants face off and decide the final matchups! 'American Gladiators' airs on NBC at 8 p.m. on Mondays.

Recap by Casey Johnson
Starpulse staff writer