Whose Coconut's Getting Busted On The Challenge?
A maze of rooms filled with concrete blocks and coconuts provides one more chance for the Champs to catch up to the Underdogs, money-wise. Should be easy, right?
Call me a dummy, because I thought once the Underdog Bloodbath was over, we were going straight into the finals with two teams of four competing. Turns out there is more winnowing yet to do, as this episode features the conclusion of the Underdog Bloodbath, yet another money-making Challenge, and then a Champion Elimination (or at least, the beginning of one).
The direction and editing of the maze Challenge makes the teams' progress unnecessarily confusing, especially when it appears to be a close race, so there was no need for subterfuge. This challenge really needed a Telestrator highlighting which was the correct exit for each cube so we knew whether the teams were headed in the right direction.
It seemed like production was counting on the Champs winning the challenge, which would have evened their financial pots. Instead, the Champs lose, and now the Underdogs are $60K ahead. Oops! To add insult to injury, it's a Champs Elimination, and since there are only four left, there's no choice about who's going in.
With so few left, how will they be ranked?
During the Challenge, Laurel snipes at her for spending more time watching the other team than helping her own, but honestly? It seems like a decent strategy. How much help was she really going to be at moving concrete blocks compared to the other three beasts on her team? She also volunteers to dive for the final key and ends up buried in a coconut avalanche in their losing effort. Some points off for continued smoochies with Cory, but was there anyone in the world who thought she would beat Laurel in the Elimination? And yet, she's still standing. I think she even surprised herself. She gets the top ranking for persistence alone.
Much like Camila, Ashley surprised herself this week by somehow ending up the smartest person left on her team and helping them figure out the best way to game the Challenge. With no allies left on her side, she gamely steps up and makes a go of it, prodding her team to victory. Also, finds a millipede in her broccoli and vows to never eat another vegetable, which seems reasonable to me.
My heart leapt when CT said in a moment of reflection that he came on the show figuring it would be his swan song, but realized that he's got more left in the tank. Elder Statesman CT is way preferable to Psycho CT. He knows now to save it for the competitions. Plus, he loves to stir shit up in a way that feels organic compared to Bananas's constant "producing the show" vibe.
Cory, Darrell, Nelson
The peanut butter thing is getting out of hand, and eating peanut butter from a jar that's been sitting out in tropical weather for two weeks is disgusting, especially after everyone points out the mold on the jar. She also seemed to want Laurel to stay more than Laurel actually wanted to stay.
What kind of strategy did he try in the Elimination? Once the Cory/Nelson fight goes nowhere, he seems to be playing Ring Around the Rosie but then forgetting the part where he has to jump out of the ring first? And then when it fails once, he tries it again? Go home, Shane.
Girl. WYD? First of all, you can do better than Nicole. Second, you are a beast. How do you lose an Elimination to Camila? You had a 9-0 Elimination record going in, and two of those wins were against Camila? Yes, I know it wasn't about brute strength, but you even admitted that you checked out halfway through. I was so psyched to see your return to The Challenge but I miss the Challenge Robot of yesteryear.
MVP: Underdogs, for putting personal grievances aside and working together to thwart the producers' efforts to even up the banks.
LVP: That gross jar of moldy peanut butter. Send a PA to Costco and get Nicole a new jar.
Best Reaction Shot: No question.
Camila's face right before the game showed that she wasn't fucking around.
Best Quote: "Play to your strengths. Endurance. Heart. [loooooooong pause]. That's it." – Cory, trying to psych Camila up for the Elimination and quickly realizing that she's a long shot to win.
The Wrath Of Teej: After winning, Camila goes in for a hug from Teej and he instinctively reciprocates for a second and then he remembers where he is and swats her away saying he doesn't do hugs. I laughed.