“I’m just so sick of the honest people getting beat in this game.” —Landon
“I should write a book: How To Dismantle An Entire Alliance, by Mr. Beautiful” —Kenny
Well, that’s not exactly how I would have played it, but, for Kenny at least, everything appears to have worked out.
In an episode that potentially saw the entire balance of power shift, one thing was made perfectly clear: It’s a really good thing that neither Wes nor Evelyn nor Kenny is a world leader. You usually have to watch a Chicago White Sox game to see strategizing that perplexing.
The episode actually opens with some impressive deduction from Wes. If you recall, CJ and Sydney did not actually compete in their Exile (they won by forfeit when Brandon was DQed for drinking beforehand), but decided to say that they did in order to feign an upper hand. As Wes pushes for more details about the Exile, though, and gets more “lawyerly,” he realizes CJ’s deception. All this harsh interrogation does, though, is make CJ and Landon realize that they are at the bottom of the Wes/Evelyn Alliance. This would be the first of many cracks in that Alliance last night.
Next came the actual challenge, which was probably the most physically demanding one yet. Basically, it was a giant wheel that the teams had to push against one another, but it was pretty intense. The first heat, for example, lasted over an hour, until each team had to lose a player. Ultimately, the winners were Kenny (surprise, surprise) and Pete. Then, in a classless but brilliant act of subterfuge, Wes got Evelyn to throw the next heat so that he and CJ could compete against Kenny and Pete on full rest.
Amazingly, the team of Kenny/Laurel and Pete/Jillian still beat the well-rested team, even after an arduous, 90-minute battle. Wes and CJ’s showing was, as Evelyn eloquently put it, “pathetic.”
This is the second—and probably biggest—crack in the Wes/Evelyn Alliance: Nobody wants to be allies with a weak team, and Wes and Evelyn haven’t given any indication that they can beat Kenny and Laurel. In fact, they seem downright terrified of that team.
Sensing this fear, Kenny and Laurel let Pete and Jillian win the final heat of the challenge, figuring that immunity is more important to the Pete/Jillian team.
Meanwhile, Wes and Evelyn were essentially panicked at this point, knowing that Pete and Jillian planned to vote one of them in. So, like they did last week, they conspire to get the lowest ranking member of their Alliance voted in. Since Landon didn’t seem willing to vote for CJ, though, Wes offered a deal to Kenny: If Kenny got Pete/Jillian to throw Landon/Carley into Exile, then Wes and Evelyn would vote for CJ/Sydney. Obviously, Kenny should have seen right through this, realizing that, once Landon/Carley have been sent in, Wes and Evelyn would just vote for Kenny and Laurel, right? I mean, this seems painfully obvious, right?
Well, shockingly, Kenny accepted this deal; and even more shocking, Wes and Evelyn went along with it! Now, I guess I can see why Kenny would agree to it: He wanted the Wes/Evelyn Alliance to gradually pick itself off, he wanted to keep his Alliance out of Exile, and, most importantly, he still thinks Jenn and Ryan are more loyal to him than viewers have been led to believe. Even if Wes and Evelyn were to vote for him, he thinks he would probably be safe anyway.
On the other hand, I have no idea whatsoever what Evelyn and Wes were thinking. Why on Earth would you vote in one of the members of your own Alliance? What do you possibly have to gain by being loyal to Kenny? Even if you think that Kenny and Laurel would win if they go in, and that you will thus lose a member of your Alliance, you are guaranteed to lose a member of your Alliance if the only people competing are in your Alliance! And if you think Kenny and Laurel are unbeatable… then vote in someone else! Vote in Ryan/Theresa, or Noor/Jenn!
No matter what Wes and Evelyn’s thinking was, Pete (without telling his partner Jillian about the plan, leading to some temporary panic) threw Landon/Carley into Exile. CJ/Sydney got voted in by the mob. When it came time for the actual Exile, CJ and Sydney spent an hour and a half on the first puzzle, by which time Landon and Carley had already finished the entire course.
This is the part where we rank:
Eliminated: CJ and Sydney
CJ and Landon should have done what I suggested a few weeks ago and jumped from the Wes/Evelyn Alliance. As CJ realized—too late, of course—being at the bottom of an Alliance only means that you are expendable.
7. Wes and Mandi (-2): Oh how the mighty have fallen! The leader of a “well-oiled machine” a few weeks ago, Wes has gone from unstoppable to eminently vulnerable.
6. Luke and Evelyn (-2): I’m not even sure if this team is better than Wes/Mandi anymore. Between Evelyn’s forfeit this week, and her embarrassing failure last week, she’s just not the dominant competitor I’m used to.
5. Landon and Carley (-3): It’s not clear whether or not Landon will return to Wes’ Alliance now, but it doesn’t really matter: Either way, they don’t have the numbers.
4. Ryan and Theresa (+2): This team seems destined to make it to the final challenge and finish out of the money (4th place gets no prize); Ryan may weigh 17 lbs., but he’s not as steroid-addled as the rest of the competitors.
3. Noor and Jenn (+4): Jenn, like Ryan, was playing the middle of the alliances before this episode, but they both seemed to realize that sticking with Kenny from here on out basically puts them in the finals.
2. Pete and Jillian (+6): Letting Pete and Jillian take the immunity was really the master stroke of this episode: Without their usual target, Wes and Evelyn turned on their own.
1. Kenny and Laurel ( — ): Kenny and Laurel’s dominance isn’t unprecedented on the Real World/Road Rules Challenge, but how they have slowly spoiled what initially seemed like an impenetrable alliance has been uniquely impressive. I don’t think Kenny is a smart as he thinks he is, but he’s stupid like a fox.