“I’m gonna go out on a limb and say if it’s against the Geneva Convention, they’re probably not going to make us do it in a challenge” —Dan
Man, all TJ Lavin has to do is show up and it scares the crap out of the contestants.*
Before last night’s Gulag, TJ stopped by the house and mysteriously told Eric and Luke to shave their faces, leading to a rash of speculation about what the actual Gulag event would involve. Brad pointed out that any hair on your face could catch fire, so they’d probably ask you to shave…
…except that would mean the challenge involved setting your face on fire. Alas, that was not the actual challenge. Instead, it involved slapping each other in the face with fly swatters while holding a 20-lbs. bucket. Whoever let his bucket drop first would lose. It was one of the weirdest elimination challenges that I can remember in the show’s history.
Even the team challenge was pretty cool this week. Called Bottleneck Stampede, it was basically an obstacle course, but because every obstacle functioned as a bottleneck, there was a tension between working as a team (like when Paula needed Melinda to help push her through two stacks of tires), running your own race, and actively trying to impede the other team.
In fact, since the race wouldn’t end until each team got all its players across the finish line, the Blue Team’s whole strategy was to hold players from Red and Gray back. Derrick did his job and held Sarah and Ayiiia from the Gray team back, but Ty for some reason couldn’t keep the Red Team behind him, giving Red its second consecutive win.
When deliberations started for the Gulag, two debates were immediately settled: Luke and Katie both immediately volunteered themselves. Katie volunteered herself because she knew she’d probably get voted in anyway after Shauvon’s forfeit last week didn’t give her an opportunity to prove her mettle to the rest of the Blue Team. Luke, on the other hand, seemed to volunteer himself out of sheer bloodsport, claiming that he wanted to see some one-on-one action.
That left the decision down to a Blue guy and a Gray girl. For Gray, Ayiiia, probably sensing that she was on the chopping block, made a last-ditch effort against Cara Maria, pointing out that Cara Maria had needed Abram to bail her out at one point during the challenge. This might be a legitimate criticism, but Cara Maria was the first one on her team to finish the race, and she’s already been into the Gulag once, AND she’s hooking up with her team’s best player. Ayiiia would probably be better served to go after Sarah, who hasn’t been to the Gulag yet.
On Blue, it once again came down to Ty, the rookie, against Eric, the dead weight. Eric felt he had proved himself in the Gulag last week and shouldn’t be sent in again, but Johnny is still worried that Eric will hold the team back in a potential Final Challenge. Ty, though, didn’t help his case by performing horribly in the week’s challenge. The votes actually came down to a tie, forcing a revote. TJ explained that if the revote should also be a tie, then Luke would be able to pick any guy he wanted. This threat was enough to convince both Derrick and Jenn to change their votes from Ty to Eric, sending Eric in again.
Once it came down the swatting competition, the girls hit each other…well, like girls. It basically came down to a test of who could hold her bucket longer, with a few slaps thrown in for fun. Katie ended up winning. For the guys, I thought Eric would have a clear advantage in a game that was all about strength, and he did have the hardest slaps. By the end of the match, Luke’s face was as red as Eric’s face is normally. Even so, Luke managed to keep his bucket up longer than Eric, meaning the two Gulag volunteers persevered.
Now it’s time to fill in the rank:
Eliminated: Ayiiia (Gray), Eric (Blue)
As much as I understand Eric’s frustration at being sent in again, I completely see where Johnny and the rest of the Blue Team are coming from. After The Gauntlet III, Eric is a huge liability. Also, I’m glad Ayiiia and the excessive “i”s in her name are gone.
Guys in Danger: Brandon (Red), Ty (Blue), Dan (Gray)
Luckily for Brandon, the Red Team’s on a winning streak, meaning he’s been able to stay out of the Gulag. Ty, though, is on the hot seat now.
Girls in Danger: Camila (Red), Katie (Blue), Sarah (Gray)
The Red Team started to panic about some nonexistent and nonsensical alliance between Johnny and Camila—as Johnny put it, “This is such a stupid concept…of course I’d benefit from it, but what would she get out of that?”—so that puts a target on Camila’s back.
16. Emily (Blue, +1): Katie’s win means the next Blue loss might send a different girl into the Gulag to “prove herself” and that would almost certainly be Emily.
15. Luke (Gray, N/A): I didn’t think Luke had a win in him, but that ought to stick it to Evelyn, huh?
14. Cara Maria (Gray, -1): There was some truth in Ayiiia’s point about how Abram is carrying Cara Maria through this challenge, even if the point was only made in desperation.
13. Chet (Red, +2): After dumping Mandi, Chet is slowly creeping up the hierarchy.
12. Theresa (Blue, -1): She was noticeably absent from the discussions over Ty and Big Easy.
11. Melinda (Red, N/A): Didn’t really expect this, but Melinda seems integral to her team. She was helping Paula throughout the challenge, and joined Brad to confront Camila about her relationship with Johnny.
10. Tyler (Red, +2): I still really don’t like Tyler.
9. Jenn (Blue, —): Jenn tried to talk to Big Easy after the vote, and the way he reacted—angrily and selfishly—showed why, even though he was treated unfairly, I’m not upset to see him go.
8. Johnny (Blue, —): It’s almost comical how even being associated with Johnny has tarnished Camila’s reputation on her own team.
7. Tori (Red, -1): I feel obligated to rank her and Brad in tandem….
6. Brad (Red, -2): …And Brad fell this week after more cracks in his leadership showed. First he alienated Brandon by voting him in twice, and now he’s pissed off Camila by accusing her relationship with Johnny of being untoward.
5. Dunbar (Red, +2): With Brad falling and Red winning, that helps Dunbar’s status.
4. Derrick (Blue, +1): Derrick did his job in the challenge, but his team’s dumb strategy cost him.
3. Paula (Red, —): Paula basically admitted last night that she’s playing more for pride than for money.
2. Laurel (Gray, —): At least Laurel didn’t drunkenly berate anyone this week…
1. Abram (Gray, —): He maintains his #1, but it’s a very loose grip on the crown…