The Challenge Spins The Wheel

Which hamsters fall off in a Champions' elimination week?

It's a Champions' week, somehow, and I don't think I understand why the production isn't evening up the numbers of Champs and Underdogs -- maybe to try to keep Bananas from winning again? But then the challenge itself seems designed to give him ways to win immunity; it's a big paddle wheel that guy/girl pairs have to stay on as long as possible, with the best time letting the winner avoid The Fortress, and because of the uneven numbers I just mentioned, the Champs have to send one team in a second time against the last Dogs team. Bananas volunteers himself and Laurel, betters his first time, and gets immunity.

Laurel is also immune, and after yet another "Jenna should just talk to Zach if she's that concerned about The Rumor, which she shouldn't be, because they weren't together and who cares"-terlude, she chooses Zach to go in. Zach thinks she's mad about his cramping up on her back on Free Agents; I suspect it's just because he's the biggest guy. Bananas chooses Cara Maria to get in her head. Then the others have to vote on who joins Zach and Cara, and for some reason, Ashley K. is chosen because she's cannon fodder, a strategy I've never understood; and Darrell is chosen because I don't know why. Darrell and Cara have to wrest short poles away from their opponents, and each wins 2-0.

Elsewhere, Ashley M. is mad at Hunter for looking at naked girls, Camila is mad at CT because Camila likes to get mad, and Jenna blah blah sad whatever. But who's the saddest hamster? To the rankings...

  1. Laurel

    Wins immunity without breaking a sweat; keeps it chill at nominations; urges Jenna to take control of her destiny re: Zach and stop letting it be about him all the time.

  2. Cara Maria

    She's seldom going to lose in a face-off, and doesn't here, and I'd like to tell her to stop letting Bananas get on her nerves, but I can't stop letting him get on mine and I'm not even there. Her loyalty to Jenna is sweet despite not really helping.

  3. CT

    Murmurs that he didn't step it up high enough against Bananas; "I can't let that happen again." Is unfazed by having put himself in Camila's crosshairs.

  4. Darrell

    All business before The Fortress, telling an unimpressed TJ that he's there for the money; all business in The Fortress; his customary quotable self afterwards, relieved to have made up for his crap performance on the challenge: "I may not-a got it in the air, but you ain't gon' beat me on the ground, it's that simple."

  5. Hunter

    Kills it in the challenge despite coming in at a disadvantage because of his height; wisely whatevers Ashley's meltdown and focuses on supporting her in the game.

  6. Shane

    Nicole is impressed by him; the rest of the house should probably take note, but it's better for him if he's underestimated at this stage of the game, probably.

  7. Nicole, Sylvia, Cory, Dario

    No objection.

  8. Bananas

    Well, look, it's maddening to hear other players talking about how he saw two moves ahead when he volunteered to go onto the paddle again, because in fact he "saw" the actual move in play at that moment; that he's a strategic master compared to everyone else on the show is about as meaningless a metric as exists. But it does succeed, as does his needling of Cara Maria. In the land of the dimwits, the one-lobed brain is etc. I initially ranked him fairly high for that, but Bananas gonna Bananas, and his daddish "It's a good old-fashioned headbanger, kids!" at The Fortress while clapping like a fourth-period phys-ed teacher is unbelievably irritating.

  9. Amanda

    In theory I appreciate a Challenger who can guffaw about how much she sucked, but it doesn't tend to wear well in-game.

  10. Zach

    The clinging to the paddles because he saw on NatGeo that all the world's most poisonous sea creatures dwell in the waters of Thailand is pretty funny,


    and I appreciate that, when Jenna "confesses" to him about The Rumor, he without hesitation tells her, "I can't be mad about anything you've done." But he's bested without much delay in The Fortress, prior to which he tearily tells TJ that he's playing to honor Ryan Knight's memory? A little bit of a left-fielder for me, since I'd forgotten they were close, but that entire segment seemed like Teej was trying to shake up the odds somewhat by making the Champs emotional about their motivations? In any case, I don't think I'd enjoy dating the guy, but he's unstressful Challenge TV for me so I'm sorry he's headed home.

  11. Ashley M.

    I would give her credit for immediately addressing her issues with Hunter, except I don't understand the issues. We haven't really seen them canoodling for like three episodes, and now he's not allowed to talk about finding anyone else attractive when half the other women in the house got naked?

  12. Ashley K.

    Despite her showmance with Dario, a complete non-entity. I would say her ouster's overdue but I literally kept forgetting she was there.

  13. Camila

    The superior attitude is off-putting, and then there's the offended side-eye she cuts at CT during the vote, like, it's a small team as it is and immunity took one of the three choices off the table. Getting pissed about his basically flipping a coin is a choice you're making (which confirms CT's right to pick you). Settle down.

  14. Nelson

    Never go first, bro.

  15. Jenna

    After eeeeehhhhhhndless crying to the rest of the house about The Rumor and The Zach Situation, she finally tells him what everyone else is saying. "I just wanna be with Zach!": blech. Thank God he goes home before either of them starts thinking that's a good idea.

Episode Superlatives

MVP: Laurel.

LVP: Ashley K.

Best Reaction Shot: Camila's silent-film "HOW DARE YOU SIR" glare at CT.

Best Quote: "No one else gets to relive Mario World, but we are." - Shane.

Sickest Burn: "It's not usually that smart to go first, but since Nelson and Amanda are not that great anyway? They might as well go first." - Camila.

Crimes Against Fashion: Nudity; mouthguards.

The Wrath Of Teej: Is Probstishly nonplussed by Darrell coming back to the show to get paper, versus Cara Maria's stated motivation of pride, but no wrath, just disappointed blinking.

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