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Reason Barfing.

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Currying Favor On The Challenge

A competitive-eating task gets two Underdogs the boot in more ways than one.

This chunderrific episode moved things along nicely after a mercifully brief showmance interlude with Cory and Camila, heading straight into a challenge that tasked the teams with finishing bowls of super-hot curry to get to the puzzle pieces underneath their bowls. Much ralphing, complaining, and Sylvia self-pity later, the Champs win handily, with Nicole and Hunter coming in first for the Underdogs and scoring themselves immunity (and, not for nothing, doing very little to pitch in on the Dogs' puzzle once they've assured their respective safeties).

Shane smartly semi-allies himself with Nicole because he's taking a long view and understands how the world works, but Dario just as smartly sees that the other alliance won't see it that way, and rats Shane to them hoping to create a fracture that works to his advantage. That bet doesn't pay off, as he's sent into The Fortress against Nelson for a game that seems a little too specifically designed to let Nelson win -- use a weighted rope to break 16 powder-filled skulls inside a huge bell -- and Sylvia's misguided attempt to play "with honor" by volunteering herself for the elimination sends her home, because Jenna is a foot taller than she is, and is...not Sylvia, so.

But that Ashley meltdown you saw in the promos goes nowhere, of course. Not so Bananas' needling of the Dogs, which is inexplicably, pathetically, and instantaneously successful -- and maddening. Forget never having watched this show, or met Bananas, before; have these simpletons never watched any TV before?

Let's rank these boneheads.

  1. CT

    His talking-heads are a consistent low-key delight. This week, he notes that he's trying to keep up with "these kids" at the club but he's afraid he might pull a hammy doing the Running Man; that Cory's not wasting any time moving on from Kailah; and that this challenge is a good time to see what his teammates have going on in terms of pushing through pain.

  2. Darrell

    Reacts thusly to Bananas harping, on the Challengers' night off, on their comparative lifetime-win tallies:

    "...So you'll shut up about it one way or the other," Darrell does not add, and I doubt he cares either way how far Bananas gets, which is why Darrell is King Shit of Challenge Mountain and Bananas is just...kind of a shit. Additional points for shrugging as he sprints away from the first curry station that he thought it would be disgusting, but the "shit" actually tasted good.

  3. Nicole

    Wins the challenge handily while making a semi-alliance with Shane that doesn't burn her and could go either way for her later.

  4. Jenna

    Her prepping for food challenges by trying asparagus and "a Brussels sprout?" makes her the hero we all need; ditto her sangfroid about going into a bunch of eliminations, and her winning this one without much fuss.

  5. Cara Maria

    Her desperately cheerful "You know what's funny? Is there's no hooks on the sides!" as the Champs flap around with their puzzle pieces speaks to every grade-grubber who's tried to corral the cool kids in her group project to focus for five minutes so she's not cost her A. And if anyone knows how you have to (not) respond to getting pranked on Challenges, it's Auntie Cara, so get the knack, newbies.

  6. Laurel

    No objection.

  7. Shane

    Cheerleads tirelessly during the game, and finishes bowls of curry for his teammates, but seems not to understand that the coxswain routine is annoying them more than encouraging them -- or that bothering to explain that he's within his rights to protect his own interests to get to the final/that this doesn't by definition go against teamwork is a waste of his breath. Good thing he tends to beast these challenges because his social game kind of can't work with these dimwits, though Nicole at least is savvy enough to understand his value, and his pulling Sylvia along is sweet and smart gameplay too.

  8. Bananas

    I like Ashley, and I would get pretty bent out of shape too if someone sent my toilet seat on a field trip into the lagoon, so I'm not unsympathetic, but I'm also not unsympathetic to Bananas seeing that "the more agitated" he can make the Underdogs, the more likely they are to turn on each other. I mean, they don't need the help, but despite the fact that it's Bananas instigating it, it is kind of satisfying to see how quickly a couple of my least favorite players, Hunter and Nelson, fall right into the trap. And his turning right around to rile Nelson up by smirking that Shane's "dirty" for agreeing not to send Nicole into future Fortresses is classic Bananas...and not in a bad way.

  9. Camila

    I don't love the Cor-noodling, or her snotty attitude, but when it's game time, she gets it done, and at least she's under no illusions about the lasting nature of this showmance.

  10. Amanda

    I'm fine with anyone who's going to get in Hunter's face, but more generally she should probably chill. It's just chips under the mattress. Sweep 'em out, get drunk enough not to care, and get on with the game.

  11. Dario

    He made his play, which I respect even though it didn't work out, and I think he got jobbed a little on this elimination, which is a more random kind of game that seemed designed to let Nelson stay in...but he flailed it, in the end, and he's going home.

  12. Ashley

    Apparently has never had a little brother or gone to sleep-away camp, both experiences that might have helped her maintain here instead of threatening to go home because she's spent "80 percent" of her time on the show pooping.

    What?

    As far as her "thing" with Hunter goes, she's better off, but could have gotten to the same place without going ham on him for no real reason.

  13. Sylvia

    Struggles in the challenge; says she deserves to go into The Fortress, and though Johnny wisely notes that she's already proven herself in an elimination, at least she's not pissy about it when the Dogs take her at her word; loses, and is tiresomely tearful about deserving to be here some more. This ouster was overdue.

  14. Cory

    I'm not Kailah's lawyer over here and it's not like he's doing anything wrong...

    ...but she wasn't a literal mattress, kid. Any class at all, maybe.

  15. Nelson

    It's only a matter of time before he gets Fortressed out of here, and I can't wait.

  16. Hunter

    "Wins" the challenge on the Underdog side, but then does nothing to help with the puzzle, and gets disproportionately aggro at Ashley when she's whinging at him about the chips prank. Yes, she's annoying; yes, it's fine to be done with that romance-wise; flexing on her all "accuse me one more time, I dare you" is not going to work.

Episode Superlatives

MVP: Much as it pains me, Bananas. Eating curry with one hand, slinging divisive bullshit with the other.

LVP: Whoever felt we needed to see this

not only at every.single.ad break, but in slo-mo.

Best Reaction Shot: Teej's nonplussed response to Sylvia's "noble" "sacrifice."

Best Quote: "I ate a bug." - Camila.

Sickest Burn: "...You guys know what curry is?" - Teej, who after years in this job is right to question the Challengers' mastery of even the most basic information. Honorable mention to Shane dismissing Hunter and Nelson as "such weak people" for letting Bananas get to them.

Crimes Against Fashion: Camila wearing Cory as a bathrobe isn't the best look I've seen.

The Wrath Of Teej: Rueful confusion, more like, as he clocks the Dogs for having "kind of a team within a team," and adds, "Sounds messed up."

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