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Who's Over A Barrel As The Challenge Heads Into The Final?

The last three Rival teams standing face a twist...and each other?

You didn't really think Cheyenne would bail so close to the end, did you? Yeah, me neith. But how many phone calls like the buzzsaw-weepy one we saw Cheyenne make do you think Cheyenne Sr. has to field during any given week -- four? six? I feel like it's a bunch. I feel like it's a big enough bunch that production knew letting Cheyenne talk to her would solve the problem.

While Cheyenne's hunkered under a counter in the bathroom, Devin is blowing everyone up: Sarah for being a sheep who doesn't do the right thing; Jenna for talking shit about Vince one minute, then joining in the bullying the next. He does provoke Vince into rushing him, mostly to see if he'll flinch, which he does, but despite the fact that security is, weirdly, already right there when the water-throwing starts, of course nobody's disciplined, because it's almost the final and there's...nobody left.

An awkward lunch and apology tour later, it's time for the final elimination, for which Sarananas and Nicorio draw the short straws. Nicorio do better than you'd expect, but not nearly as well as the editing wants you to believe, and head home -- on a high note emotionally, at least; they're getting along great now -- to leave us with Sarananas, Vinna, and Devenne in the final.

Said final does begin in this episode, but if we'd dispensed with 1) Teej reminding us at pained length about the prize money is broken out and 2) yet another slideshow from Bananas And Sarah's Emotional Journey Back To Trust 'N' Friendship, The Challenge could probably have fit the whole final into an hour and a half tonight. As it is, the overexertion barfing and bronchitis will have to wait 'til next week's true finale. But first, the twist: getting into the final isn't enough to get the money. Your team has to finish. Not only that, but whichever individual Rival finishes each final checkpoint's task first wins a point -- and whichever Rival on each team has the most points at the end gets to decide whether to split the money with his/her partner, or keep the whole whack.

And hey well whaddya know, Bananas isn't willing to reassure Sarah in so many words that he won't keep the whole whack for himself, because: game theory (sort of). I don't really think anyone's going to pull that on national television...but if Scorpionananas does do it, I won't really feel sorry for the frog.

The game's pitting the teams's individual members against each other, so I'll do the same. Your Challengers, first to worst.

  1. Devin
    Whatever blind spot Cheyenne has about Bananas and Plantains trying to get in her head, Devin sees in 3D, needling Vince and Jenna nonstop until Vince rushes him, then laughs like a psycho. He also knows that letting the tension ride will hurt his team more than it does the others, so he apologizes as sincerely as he's able. If anyone opts to keep their portion of the prize money instead of splitting it, it's Devin.
  2. Dario
    He must know almost immediately that, in a puzzle-plus-heavy-lifting face-off, he's doomed, but he never lets his tone get the better of him. His last words in a talking-head: "Good job."
  3. Dragbrows
    She isn't much help in the elimination, but she's trying, and she's charmingly aware that Dario's unjudgmental encouragement is powering her. That she spends the duration of the Devin/Vince scrap examining her cuticles is perhaps less strategy and more game fatigue; she seems almost relieved to go home. She's definitely genuinely pleased that the season has made her and Dario friends: "He's gonna follow me on Instagram after this!" Hee.
  4. Bananas
    I don't really think he's going to keep their whole portion of the money, but if he did -- if he truly went there, long-conned Sarah for a whole season and then burned her down to the ground for just not ever learning her lesson about him -- I would respect the hell out of it. As it is, his fucking with her head by avoiding her questions about what he plans to do is very enjoyable to watch, because he knows she's unlikely to keep the money, but he also knows that throwing her off her mental game betters his odds of taking the decision out of her hands. I mean, the guy's a bore to watch on The Challenge at this point, but this is why, ironically. He knows every inch of the game like it's his job, because it is.
  5. 2016-07-27-challenge-cheeks
  6. Jenna
    Surely she knows that Devin doesn't mean she's "cute and fluffy" when he calls her and Sarah sheep, but since she apparently doesn't know that storming out of a room with 62 percent of your ass showing kind of undercuts the drama of your exit...who knows. I would joke that she acts like she's forgotten all about Zach already, but she...probably has, like literally, because Jenna.
  7. Cheyenne
    If you're going to be that big of a baby, do it more quietly.
  8. 2016-07-27-challenge-vince-HA-ha
  9. Vince
    Fuck off.
  10. Sarah
    The slavish relief that Bananas "forgave" her is bad enough on its own; now it's compounded by her immediate -- and probably justified -- paranoia that he is in fact going to ride her to the finish line and then keep the money for himself. She's very likely to come out ahead on points, and if she's as smart as her obnoxious "Science!" chirps want us to think she is, she'll make good on the hints that she's retiring after this and deke him out of the money. But she won't, and she'll act all superior about that at the reunion like she gave him a fucking kidney. Ugh.

Episode Superlatives

MVP: 2016-07-27-challenge-cheyennes-mom

LVP: Everyone else? ...Fine: Jenna, whose ineptitude has her team sitting last going out of the first checkpoint.

Best Quote: 2016-07-27-challenge-maipu

Sickest Burn: Sarah's pitying tone when she notes that "it's been a long time since Bananas won a final" wins this one. The burn that doesn't know it's a burn is sometimes the sickest of them all.

Best Reaction Shot: 2016-07-27-challenge-joy-puff Crimes Against Fashion: 2016-07-27-challenge-banana-whiteys

The Wrath Of Teej: Another fondly proud week for Teej, who says twice that he wishes he could take all four teams to the final, and smiles quite paternally as the six finalists Monkees-walk down a vineyard lane.

For Star Trek Week we:

Recast this season's Challenge finalists in Trek-verse roles!

  • Sarah as Dr. Crusher
  • Bananas as Khan
  • Jenna as the voice of the computer
  • Vince as Worf
  • Devin as Bones
  • Cheyenne as a tribble
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