Who's On The Ropes On The Challenge?
Showmance 'drama' eats up so much episode runtime, we end on a cliffhanger. Will Bananas get peeled?
So much time is devoted to the Nicaraurel love triangle that we don't get to see the results of The Fortress, which is particularly annoying given that Bananas is on the chopping block. Before that, it's a lot of talking about Laurel's feelings, and how her traditional father might react to her getting it on with a lady, never mind on TV; scuffling amongst Amanda, Camila, and Laurel, the latter of whom is mostly getting into it with Amanda to distract herself from Nicole playing her with Cara Maria (and, based on Cara's tongue extension here, I'm...kind of seeing where Nicole is going with this?);
and some kind of weird game involving what look like banana-shaped dog toys.
Enjoy your lunch, everyone!
Finally, a challenge shows up to move things along. It's a Champions elimination that will require the Challengers to stay on a slicked-up platform suspended above the water by clinging to ropes as long as they can. The longest cumulative time will net that team fifteen grand, which the Underdogs manage to score thanks to Shane's very wise choice to launch himself not at a rope but at CT and Bananas. In the end, despite some unsportsmanlike whining from Cara Maria, Camila saves herself from The Fortress, as does CT by virtue of Shane basically torquing his body enough on the downward plunge to let him get a literal foot above everyone else -- so it's Darrell v. Bananas and Cara v. Laurel in The Fortress, and when we leave them, Darrell is trying to clinch a victory for himself and all mankind.
Let's see how these fools acquitted themselves this week.
Using his team's functional immunity as an opportunity to knock out some legendary Champions is a very smart play, not that he'll get the credit he deserves for it (the majority of others' talking-heads on the subject seem kind of disapproving in tone). He won't get credit for trying to defuse the Amanda/Camila scrap by telling Amanda Camila's using her to get screentime, either, although that play was a lot less effective. It's frustrating as a viewer that Shane employs a lot of the same psychological techniques as Bananas, but Bananas is cast as the evil genius and Shane is just some guy making trouble.
His baffled "are you serious, breh" response to Bananas loftily saying that he would never stir the pot like Amanda's doing is brilliant, as is his talking-head warning that "If there's not enough room in my rope, you'd better believe I'm gonna make some." He doesn't, but I did believe him.
Barely onscreen until he's sent into The Fortress, at which time he's very evidently not fucking around, but Bananas has a way of rising to these occasions, unfortch.
Still having a bee up her booty shorts about the chips is not going to serve her well, but I like that she isn't impressed by the champs, or afraid to underline how too-important the show is to a couple of them. Would give her odds in a brawl with Camila.
I feel kind of bad for Laurel, and it's not great form for Nicole to let the cameras capture her telling Cara that, "in the entire house, I want you," but on the other hand, Nic's a player and hasn't historically made a secret of that, and you kind of have to respect how she boomerangs Jenna clocking her for creating lady drama into hitting on...Jenna.
Sees right through Nicole, but has spent enough time in these houses not to get in a twist about fights that don't directly involve her.
Ashley, Hunter, Cory, Nelson
No objection. Cory and Nelson hang on the longest in the challenge, but otherwise barely register, for a pleasant change.
With the exception of the backwards trucker hat, pitched at a doofy angle and doing little to disguise the steroidal proportions of his massive Banoggin,
no real objection.
Confesses her role in Chipgate to Amanda, then calls Amanda a "tiny motherfucker" when Amanda's not seeing the humor, and while she's not as obnoxious as Camila when it comes to the imperious know-your-place attitude the vets roll in with on these seasons, it's not a good look for anyone. But it's more entertaining than her alleged journey into her own emotions, which I think is legit occurring but is still not fantastic television. Props on serving Carrie/The Ring realness at the costume party, though.
Checks in on her and Laurel's friendship vis-a-vis the Nicole situation, and doesn't seem taken in by Nicole herself. Should have checked her post-competition whining after one sentence, though I get why losing to Camila is a bitterish pill.
Wins the challenge and saves herself, but is otherwise an active irritant throughout the episode, with the exception of her bitchily shutting Cara Maria down with, "If it was wrong, they're gonna call it." Her going after Amanda felt manufactured at first -- much like her calculated TH lines about nudity -- but then as genuine as Camila's booze rage generally is, and she really appears to believe "The champs are here, bitch, so shut the fuck up" is a valid...something. I've never cared for or about her much and I'm sorry she's not getting sent home anytime soon.
LVP: The editor who let the love triangle suck 20 minutes of air out of the episode and end up in a Fortress cliffhanger.
Best Reaction Shot: Nicole's a strong contender here,
as is CT,
but for sheer hilarity I have to give it to Ashley's "UUUUUMMMMMM" face:
Best Quote: "It's better than TV. ...It is TV." - CT on the appearance of The Camilanator.
Sickest Burn: "What are you gonna do after this show, bitch? Bitch, bye!" - Amanda to Bananas.
Crimes Against Fashion: If she's ironically rage-twerking in bunny slippers, she's a boss.
But I don't think she is.
The Wrath Of Teej: No wrath, just respect for Shane's strategery...and some gentle mockery of it when it inadvertently saves CT's bacon.