“Realistically, I think Brooklyn is a strong team. Do I want to test that theory? Hell no.” —Devyn
“People in the house may think it’s me protecting Jonna. And, actually, that’s what it is.” —Zach
MTV is really drawing out this nadir of a Challenge. Normally, we’d be at the final challenge by now, ten weeks in, but there’s at least one more episode left, and possibly two. Throw in the two off weeks, for Halloween AND Thanksgiving, and this season will have been on for over three months.
And honestly, I’m sick of it. I can’t even figure out what they’re fighting about anymore. After last week’s hissy fit from Dustin about Trishelle’s refusal to volunteer for the Arena, he backed off of his threat to go home in a scene that took about five seconds. So last week’s big “cliffhanger” amounted to nothing. Instead, last night’s episode was devoted to Marie and Robb screaming about how the rest of the teams were all “corny” and “sleazes.” Continue reading »
“A woman would at least be quiet and listen to her men.” —Alton
“There’s a fight in every corner of the house… Where am I?” —Chet
MTV’s fighting policy is weird. There’s zero tolerance for throwing punches, but apparently you get unlimited pushes and shoves, even when someone gets shoved to the ground for no real reason, like Sam was in last night’s episode.
I imagine MTV’s thinking is much like the NHL’s: They don’t want to be seen as condoning fights, but eliminating them completely would take something away from the game. Last night’s episode, in which everyone seemed to be fighting with everyone, showed just how fights and the game are interconnected. Continue reading »
“I didn’t do anything wrong in this game. Not one thing!” —Frank
“I love watching San Diego fight. It’s sort of like a television show. It’s great.” —Trishelle
Last night’s episode picked up where last week’s left off: With San Diego in disarray and Frank as the villain. Zach specifically wanted nothing to do with Frank, while Frank somehow insisted that he did nothing wrong in backing out of the Arena at the last minute.
Luckily for San Diego, last night’s challenge, “Hunger Games,” didn’t really require much in the way of communication: Set up like a 1970s game show (so that MTV could capitalize on the Jennifer Lawrence movie AND Richard Dawson’s popularity), it was basically an eating contest. TJ Lavin would announce a food item, the teams would wager on how much of it they could eat in four minutes, and whomever wagered the highest had to actually do it. Continue reading »
“Strength comes into the gym, not personality.” —Frank
“I am furious. I should be swinging the fish.” —Marie
We’re more than halfway through this season of the Challenge now, and it’s officially clear who the villain is: Alton. It’s certainly a surprise to me, and anyone else who remembers Alton from his days of dominance on The Gauntlet II and The Inferno III, but it’s hard to defend him after last night’s episode.
In at least his partial defense, there comes a time for every veteran player when he is outnumbered by rookies who don’t know or like him, and often the vets don’t know how to handle this. Alton clearly resents the “children” in the house with him this season, and some of that is certainly justified based on their treatment of him and his team, but his response was equally childish. At the beginning of last night’s episode, for example, he denied the whole cast the opportunity to go to the beach because he didn’t feel like it. Continue reading »
“There’s one thing I hate worse than everything else in the world, and that’s quitters.”—TJ Lavin
“You’re a disgrace to the humankind!” —Camila
You know, for someone who so vocally resents all the people who doubt and disrespect him, you’d think Eric wouldn’t want to give those people any more ammunition. And yet, he has repeatedly displayed a tendency towards failure and defeatism. The most obvious point against him in this regard is his collapse during the final challenge of The Gauntlet III—after which, he was allegedly back into to have a few drinks at the wrap party, according to the Reunion show—but at least that was a real medical issue. Twice this season, he has thrown in the towel for no real reason: In Week 1, when he DQed his team from the challenge, and last night, when he gave up in an elimination challenge because he didn’t like the way Camila was talking to him.
Of course, it’s possible that the fact that he was facing Devyn, who is apparently his soulmate, in the Arena, and thus one of them would have been eliminated no matter what, sapped his motivation. But it was still a pretty shitty thing for him to do to his teammate, who had no say in the matter. And though Camila was pretty nasty to Eric—showing shades of Laurel’s diatribe in Cutthroat—I can understand where she’s coming from. Like TJ, I have no patience for quitters, especially if there’s no strategic reason behind it. Continue reading »
“Not only do we have this huge target on our backs, we’ve been given this big burden called Big Easy.” —Camila
“I’m like you, only a bald, black guy who’s much older.” —Alton
Finally, an episode about people I can keep track of…
The first two episodes of Battle of the Seasons were dominated by the turmoil and machinations of people who I’ve never seen before. As such, it’s been hard to get invested in the season. Last night, though, was the best episode yet, thanks to the return of some classic storylines.
First, there were the odd love stories. Every season seems to have a confusing pairing, and this one already has two: Eric and Devyn, and Alton and Sarah. Of course, with every new relationship come allegations that the relationship is clouding someone’s judgment. Here it was Trishelle accusing Alton of protecting Sarah, to the detriment of Las Vegas’ alliance with San Diego, Cancun, and New Orleans. Continue reading »
“This is rookie justice. That’s all this is. This is the rookie revolution.” —Frank
“I’ve never wrestled in oil. I’m excited to do it.”—Chet
This season of the Challenge is harder than any other to recap, for the simple reason that I still have no idea who these people are. Frank? Robb-with-two-Bs? Knight? These guys sound like a forgotten ‘90s boy band.
Luckily for me, though, the teams have made it easier for me by falling into nice, neat alliances already. Surprisingly, the dominant alliance is led by the rookies: San Diego, New Orleans, Cancun, and Las Vegas have teamed up, and those four teams had a majority of the players going into last night’s challenge. The team does have some vets, like Alton, Trishelle, and CJ, but it’s mostly rookies, and the leader/most-vocal-member appears to be Frank. Continue reading »
“I know I don’t have a rocket scientist as a partner, so this is basically going to be the blind leading the blind.” —Johnny
“I just want to say: Johnny, you’re the worst person to motivate someone.” —Camila
Spreading the final challenge over two episodes has some obvious logic to it: It allows MTV to continue making them more and more difficult every season, and it led to a nice cliffhanger ending last week, with the shot of the three team’s sleeping on the mountain. The problem, though, is that it meant that last night’s episode was all one challenge. There was no foreshadowing or exposition or storylines being set up.
While I appreciate the leanness of an episode like that—as opposed to the filler included last week—it can diminish some of the payoff of the ending. So when Diem was trying to get C.T. motivated, or when Ty/Emily briefly took the lead, there wasn’t as much resonance as there should have been because the episode lacked any real personal moments in the house (like Abram declaring that he has “always been good at” final challenges before crapping out in Cutthroat, or Landon vowing to do whatever it takes before pushing his partner up a mountain in Fresh Meat II).
The finale began in the middle of a challenge, with TJ Lavin rousing our contestants at 5 AM to begin the second day of the final. Continue reading »
“What? Iceland? Who goes to Iceland?” —Emily
“I’m scared to die.” —Camila
First off, my most sincere apologies for the delay on this week’s rankings. I was unavoidably detained. Luckily, I will be able to provide a prompt recap of this week’s finale.
Last week’s episode, on the other hand, seemed like a lot of filler. With two teams needlessly sent home at the beginning of the season, MTV had to do some reshuffling to reach the usual ten episodes for a season of The Challenge. As a result, the episode killed a lot of time focusing on Mark’s choice of headgear and Robin’s latest crisis of confidence before getting to the task at hand: The final Dome. Continue reading »