Real World/Road Rules Challenge: Fresh Meat 2, Week 2 Power Rankings

“For the first time in…six seasons, I feel powerless… This will never happen again.”—Kenny


“What the hell are these Fresh Meat doing? They have opinions of their own? That is so inappropriate.” —Paula

Well, our epigrams come from the same two sources as they did last week, but some people are just consistently quotable. It also makes sense to go back to that well because this episode picks up just where the last one left off: Kenny has realized that Wes is more powerful than he initially thought, and isn’t very happy about that. His plan, though, is still to lay back and let the other top players battle things out for a while.

Which leads to the big question: What other top players? Kenny has to realize that, with Evan gone, he is the de facto adversary to Wes, and that’s not even accounting for the personal animosity between those two.

Meanwhile, Wes is plotting with his alliance, which primarily consists of Ev (and her partner Luke) and Danny (and his partner Sandy). Now Danny is an idiot, but Ev is actually smart and, even better, Wes realizes that she’s smart. So even though Danny wants to send in CJ and Sydney, Ev points out that CJ will vote with them, and it thus makes more sense to go after Kenny’s alliance, which includes Paula and Sarah.

Before any voting can go down, though, the teams have to perform the latest challenge. In this one, each team has to retrieve a chest from a plank about 10 feet underwater. Instead of bringing the chest to the surface, though, the teammates must take turns holding the chest above the plank but below the surface for as long as they can. Once the chest sinks, or both teammates emerge from the water at once, the team is disqualified.

Most of the teams have miscommunication problems and end up dropping the chest during a handoff. The only team that actually devises a good strategy is Kenny and Laurel—and Laurel, surprisingly enough, actually seems to be the brains of that operation—who realize that it makes more sense to hold the chest as close to the surface as possible. This way, the team can make much faster handoffs and take longer rests. Even with this superior strategy, Kenny and Laurel end up finishing second to Landon and Carley because, well, Landon is awesome.

And this is where things got interesting. As Danny says, “Landon is a wild card,” which basically means that Landon doesn’t join alliances and prefers to the play the game fairly—since, let’s be honest, if everything were done on merit, then Landon would win every single time. Even so, Wes makes the bold move of inviting Landon into his alliance if Landon sends Kenny and Laurel into Exile. Landon, stunningly, agrees, since he views Kenny and Laurel as his biggest competition.

When Kenny finds out about this, he understandably panics and confronts Wes, and the two basically draw a line in the sand. We even get a scene where Kenny and Wes go after the non-allied housemates like Jay Mohr and Tom Cruise going after clients (that’s right, I just made a Jerry Maguire reference!). Kenny wants to get enough votes to send Wes and Mandi into Exile with him, so he can send Wes home and start picking off that alliance.

Even though Kenny manages to pull Jillian, Jenn and Ryan into his alliance, he’s still outnumbered. The vote ends up even more lopsided because THREE of the new contestants don’t vote with their partners. Noor doesn’t vote with Jenn because he wants to vote for the team that performed the worst—an honorable but naïve desire. Theresa doesn’t vote with Ryan because she’s crushing on Wes and doesn’t want him to go home. The worst offender, though, is Pete, who doesn’t vote with Jillian because of some weird quest for independence. He says in his confessional that he needs to do what makes the most strategic sense for himself, and he votes along with Wes’ alliance. This makes no sense: How on Earth do you get any strategic advantage from splitting your team’s vote? Does Pete realize that if Jillian goes home, then he goes home too?

Anyway, Kenny and Laurel go into the Exile against Sarah and Vinny. The Exile proves to be even tougher the second time, involving buckets full of weight as opposed to backpacks, making it harder to balance, and it seems to be entirely uphill now. Laurel, though, proves once again to be an extremely tough competitor and seems to will Kenny through it, and they send Sarah and Vinny home. Kenny’s return is somewhat foreboding for Wes and Co., but the reality is that his alliance is still much weaker than Wes’, since he had to send Sarah home.

Well, that’s what happened. Here’s the rankings:

Eliminated: Vinny and Sarah

These two ended up hooking up shortly before they went home, but I don’t think one thing has anything to do with the other.

11. Jeff and Paula (+1): These two haven’t proved themselves as competitors, and now they are in the weaker alliance in a totally polarized house.

10. Brandon and Katelynn (-2): Remember when Katelynn was talking all tough last week about taking down Wes and Kenny? Well, she folded pretty quickly under Wes’ thumb last night, huh?

9. Ryan and Theresa (+1): Once again, I think the biggest thing helping this team is Wes’ fondness for Theresa.

8. Noor and Jenn (-2): I think Noor is a really tough competitor, but that may make this team seem like a threat to Wes, and thus an early target for him.

7. CJ and Sydney (+3): CJ seems to have aligned himself pretty quickly—and wisely—with Wes, but he’s not really in the core of that alliance.

6. Peter and Jillian (-2): They were a target of Wes and Ev for a while in this episode, but I don’t think teams are going to want to go into Exile against a team that has already won one.

5. Danny and Sandy (+4): Danny and Wes are best friends, but Danny makes Wes looks like a Sun Tzu-level strategist in comparison. Danny is an idiot.

4. Kenny and Laurel (-1): Kenny is not in a position of power and, as he admitted, he’s not really used to that. With that said, Laurel and Kenny are proving to be a very formidable team that will be tough to beat in an Exile.

3. Luke and Ev (+2): Based on last night’s episode, it might be incorrect or unfair to refer to it as “Wes’ alliance,” since Ev seems to be the primary mover and shaker on that side.

2. Landon and Carley (—): I feel a little betrayed that Landon shook hands with Wes and agreed to join his alliance, but his explanation to Kenny was great: Kenny asked, “You really think he’ll keep you around for long?” and Landon just smiled, “No, but he’ll keep me around longer than you will.” A self-aware man.

1. Wes and Mandi (—): At this point, the biggest chink in Wes’ armor will be Mandi as a partner. As Wes said after the challenge last night, sometimes you need a win to make a big power move, and Mandi isn’t helping him win any challenges.

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4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by James Schneider on April 16, 2010 at 10:07 PM

    kenny>Wes….you’ll see

    Reply

  2. Posted by chris m on April 19, 2010 at 2:59 PM

    If Kenny somehow wins this one we gotta move him ahead of Evan as the king of the challenges.

    Reply

  3. […] nominated herself, but Gray had some disagreement over what guy to send in. Sarah suggested her old partner Vinny because she thought he had the best chance to take out whomever Blue sent in. This angered Vinny, […]

    Reply

  4. […] Leroy/Naomi fell off the quickest, so they were going into the Dome no matter what, but Vinny/Sarah had to choose their opponent. They seemed to vacillate between two choices: Tyrie/Jasmine, whose earlier fight had created tension in the house (and who are generally terrible at challenges), and Wes/Mandi, who sent Vinny/Sarah home in Fresh Meat II. […]

    Reply

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