Craig Morgan, Lauren Alaina Shine on ‘Beyond the Edge,’ Ep. 2
Episode 2 of Beyond the Edge on CBS ended with one of the nine celebrity contestants ringing the bell to go home, but it wasn't either of the two country singers. Craig Morgan and Lauren Alaina shined during the second episode, and they were rewarded.
A quick recap to this point: last week's episode introduced each of the nine contestants before splitting them into two teams for a very wet and muddy puzzle task. It ended around a campfire, where viewers learned former NBA star Meta World Peace was terrified of sleeping in the jungle, and several others doubted their ability. Ultimately, nobody rang the bell to go home, and as Ep. 2 began, we learn the full group made it through the night, with varying amounts of sleep. The storms didn't help.
All the good vibes that made the first episode heartwarming also made it through the night. Really, the support and encouragement each celebrity has for the others spilled over at the very end of the episode. Tears were shed by very large men. Morgan and Alaina also cried during cutaway moments, but we'll get there.
The task this week was another obstacle course. This time there were three teams of three, with Alaina, NFL Hall of Famer Mike Singletary and reality TV star Colton Underwood stepping up to captain. Each team member had to help the others across a balance beam/tight rope situation before biking to a 60-foot cliff that one team member had to climb via a rickety ladder. That person then needed to lug 30 cans of food down the hill, and the team had to collectively sprint to the puzzle, where they needed to spell out "Taking Your Team to Greater Heights."
The Red Team of Alaina, Morgan and former NFL linebacker Ray Lewis won easily, never trailing on the strength of Morgan's leadership. He and Lewis picked Alaina up when she was down (literally), and he scrambled up the ladder like a spider up a wall. As a result, each of their charities won $10,000, and the trio got to eat from 10 of their cans while the other contestants hacked at coconuts and peeled bananas for a second straight day.
For a second straight week, the show momentarily broke away from the competition to spotlight different contestants. There were some truly moving moments, like when supermodel Paulina Porizkova opened up about her anxiety about being picked last for a team like she was as a child, and when Alaina spoke about the online bullying she experienced on American Idol as a teenager.
The singer spoke openly about a blogger who called her Miss Piggy. Then she shared more about her eating disorder. Fans learned she'd begun to lose her hair as a result of bulimia. The two women's seemingly opposite journeys came together during a moving conversation where the much-younger Alaina admitted to the 56-year-old model that she was intimidated by her. Porizkova listened and empathized, and the two seemed to have a true connection by the end.
Morgan admitted as much during a media day on Wednesday, saying he came away from the experience with new friends he'd never have met otherwise. One of those was Porizkova. Of the celebrities, the 57-year-old was among the lesser-known nationally, so his story of losing his son Jerry in July 2016 truly cut. It started as he and Meta World Peace were fishing and finished during an individual cutaway. Jerry Greer drowned while tubing on Kentucky Lake, and Morgan took viewers through that day before becoming too emotional.
Once again, the episode wrapped with a Survivor-like campfire sequence. Beyond the Edge doesn't shy away from Survivor comparisons, but the show is far less cut-throat since each contestant is playing for charity, not him or herself. To the cast's surprise, Meta World Peace said he was ringing the bell to go home. Viewers figured this was a matter of when, not if (Jodi Sweeten also seems likely to go soon, due to injury), but everyone had second thoughts as first Singletary and then Lewis gave impassioned speeches about how he'll regret it for the rest of his life and how he can't quit.
Both were known as two of the most inspiring locker room presences during their playing days, but few outside of the NFL have ever witnessed the men work. The moment might have been good enough to move a mountain, but it wasn't enough to get the NBA star to stay. As he walked out, the mood was beyond somber.
So, did he regret it? During the show, it didn't seem like Meta World Peace would, and he confirmed as much during the CBS media day. Talking to Parade, he said the experience was totally positive, and while his family was disappointed, they understood.