“It’s time for her to come out here and save me.”—Wes
“I’m going to shake things up a bit, and I really don’t see you as a threat…”—Kenny
MTV has done a really good job of promoting and editing this season of the RW/RR Challenge so that it seems like “Kenny vs. Wes,” and in some ways it is. There are clearly two well-defined (though not as well-defined as we might think, as the episode eventually revealed) alliances on the show now; MTV even took the trouble of showing a montage of each one, making the division all but official. Kenny and Wes are the ones in charge of each alliance.
Last night’s episode, though, proved that Evelyn is far more important to Wes’ alliance than Wes himself is. Of the two epigraph quotes, the first was spoken by Wes about Ev, who he needed to win the challenge to prevent Kenny from getting immunity; Wes later admitted that, with Mandi as his partner, he was not a real threat to win challenges.
Going into the challenge—in which contestants had to cross a path of hanging logs to get from one platform to another—the stakes were pretty clear. Kenny was outnumbered and, as he said, the other members of his alliance—Ryan and Paula—were “useless.” In order to avoid going into Exile, and in order to maintain any hope of regaining a numbers advantage for his alliance, Kenny and Laurel had to win the challenge. Unfortunately, Landon and Carley got to set the order as a reward for winning last week. Now that Landon is allied with Wes, he had Kenny and Laurel go first. Tellingly, though, he put Ev and Luke in the penultimate spot (saving the final spot for himself) since they “had the best chance to win.”
As it happened, this was one of those annoying challenges that basically came down to which girls were competent. Of the 11 teams, eight of the female contestants got their teams disqualified by falling in the water.* Of the three who finished, Jenn took about twice as long as the other two, Laurel and Ev, who are far and away the best girls on the show this season (not a surprise for Ev, but an impressive first showing for Laurel). Fortunately for Kenny and Laurel, their time was slightly better, meaning that they were saved from Exile and they got to choose one of the teams to send in.
*And I just have to point out the latest example of Wes’ “intelligence”: Noticing that all the girls were falling in, Wes hatches the brilliant scheme of CARRYING MANDI ON HIS BACK. Shockingly, he fell into the water before reaching the second log. Who would have thought that the added weight of an entire human being would make it harder to swing across the water?
Wes, along with pretty much everyone else, assumed that Kenny would throw him in, since Kenny and Wes don’t like each other. Kenny, though, isn’t stupid. He knows that, even if he sends Wes in, he still doesn’t have enough votes to prevent Wes’ alliance from sending in Paula. He also realizes that, in the long-term, Ev and Luke are a bigger threat than Wes and Mandi, so he “shakes things up” and sends Ev and Luke in, thinking that Paula and Jeff may be able to pull off the upset since Luke stupidly announced to the whole house that he was cramping up after the challenge.
In an Exile that would put doubts in the mind of even the most ardent believer in male superiority, Evelyn AND Paula are slowed down drastically by their male partners. Ultimately, though, Evelyn wins, which doesn’t bode well for Kenny.
Also not boding well for Kenny is the revelation that Jenn’s enigmatic voting over the past two weeks (she voted to send Wes into Exile this week, even though neither alliance wanted that) has been the result of a deal she made with Wes, even before moving into the house, to feign allegiance to Kenny by voting for him initially, only to turn on him at the last moment. The numbers, then, are not just 6-4 in favor of Wes/Ev, as Kenny believes them to be, but 7-3 in their favor. The only chance for Kenny now is to keep winning.
Why don’t we take a little time to rank?
Eliminated: Jeff and Paula
I’m sorry to see Paula go, and not only because she’s so good at generating epigraphs. She was legitimately devastated by this loss—her sixth loss—and she put up a surprisingly good fight in the Exile.
10. Ryan and Theresa (-1): Let’s see: Ryan is the only member of his alliance that hasn’t already won an Exile, and Wes seemed pretty upset to discover that he was Theresa’s second choice. This does not bode well.
9. Peter and Jillian (-3): If someone on the Wes/Evelyn alliance wins next week, then we can be sure to see Peter/Jillian go into the Exile with Kenny and Laurel.
8. Brandon and Katelynn (+1): These two are really benefiting from being in the middle of the pack, but they haven’t shown any indication that they can win an Exile or a challenge.
7. Noor and Jenn (+1): Finding out that she was on Wes’ side was surprising, but didn’t really change all that much, since Wes would have had the majority anyway.
6. Kenny and Laurel (-2): I want them to be higher, but they are going to have to win a challenge or an Exile in every episode for the foreseeable future. They can do it for a while, but for how long?
5. CJ and Sydney (+2): Of all the girls who DQed in the challenge, Sydney came the closest to the finish line, so this team may be tough to beat.
4. Danny and Sandy (+1): I don’t like Danny, but I did appreciate his honesty with Wes when he confirmed that Theresa did in fact pursue Kenny originally.
3. Wes and Mandi (-2): Some shakeups at the top this week! I appreciate the logic Kenny used to send Ev and Luke in this week, but maybe he should have sent Wes in anyway. After all, in Exile you’re only as strong as your weakest link, and Mandi is a weaker weak link than Luke. That logic may prevail next week.
2. Luke and Ev (+1): If Kenny and Laurel do keep winning and using the same logic they used last night, then Luke and Ev will be in Exile again.
1. Landon and Carley (+1): The rightful king takes the throne! Landon doesn’t control any alliance, but that may benefit him. Wes and Evelyn certainly won’t throw him in, and if Kenny and Laurel win, then they’ll likely go after Wes or Evelyn, leaving Landon safe.