“C.T.!!!!!!!!!” —Me, upon C.T.’s first appearance
Well, C.T. finally made his much-anticipated return to The Challenge this week, even if MTV decided to end the episode without showing anything he did. C.T. was brought back, along with Tina, another former Challenge participant,* to serve as an obstacle in the Gulag. Rather than go against each other, Tyler and Johnny will each have to go against C.T., and whoever does better will survive. If this sounds like a gimmick, that’s because it is, but I’m not going to complain about having C.T. back.**
*Although MTV tried to make her seem as intimidating as C.T. by reminding the audience that she too had been kicked off for fighting, it didn’t really work. Tina was a bully, but she can’t approach C.T.’s ability in the challenges or his insanity. C.T. has twice been kicked off before the first challenge.
**In fact, since commenter Derreck asked me why I’m so interested in C.T., let’s break down his entire Challenge career in order to illustrate exactly how strange and compelling he is as a competitor.
The Inferno: In his first Challenge, C.T. wins the Aztec Life Saver (awarded on alternating weeks to the best competitor on each team) four of eight times. After the third time, he went into the Inferno anyway in order to protect his friend David. He won the Inferno. C.T. ultimately made it to the final challenge, where the Real World Team lost.
The Inferno II: This time C.T. is on the Bad Asses, and he wins the Life Saver six of eight times. He once again makes it to the final challenge, where his team loses.
The Duel: C.T. was more mellow this season, as he was pursuing his relationship with Diem throughout. As a result C.T. only wins three of 14 challenges. He even goes into the duel twice, though he wins the first one (against Evan) and would have won the second except for failing to properly follow the instructions for unlocking the carabiner. When told of his disqualification, C.T. loses it and threatens to kill host T.J. Lavin.
The Inferno III: C.T. is eliminated before a single challenge for punching teammate Davis in the face for the no apparent reason.
The Gauntlet III: Though there are no individual accolades, C.T.’s team, the Veterans, wins nine of 15 competitions and C.T. stays out of the gauntlet for the whole season. In the final challenge, though, the Veterans lose after Eric is DQed for passing out.
The Duel II: C.T. is once again eliminated before the first challenge, this time for attacking Adam and repeatedly threatening to kill him.
That’s quite a career. C.T. has dominated two challenges only to have his team lose in the final each time, twice been kicked off before anything else, and twice lost on a technicality.
ANYWAY, back to Cutthroat: Last night’s episode started where the last episode left off: with the Red Team in disarray and Laurel complaining about having had to go into the Gulag. W/r/t the former, we got a lot of Brad/Tori drama that didn’t really amount to much, and w/r/t the latter, we got a lot of Laurel drama that almost led to something but ultimately didn’t.
Laurel, upset about her team having voted for her over Cara Maria, began the episode by hatching a plan with Sarah to throw the next challenge, but to make it look like Cara Maria’s fault so that Cara Maria will go home. Laurel and Sarah seem to think that Cara Maria is a “bench player” or a “D student,” but where exactly is the evidence of that? In the first challenge, Cara Maria was the one who read through the gas when Abram couldn’t. In the second episode, she won a Gulag (and it was Abram’s poor strategy that caused the team’s loss). In the third episode it was Shauvon who held the team back, not Cara Maria. In the fourth, Cara Maria was the first on her team to finish the race. The Gray Team won in episodes five and six, and last week Cara Maria made it across the wire with Abram after bailing him out when he almost fell. I see no evidence that Cara Maria is holding Gray back.
Nevertheless, Laurel and Sarah want her gone, if only so that they don’t have to split their prize money with her. When it actually comes time for the challenge, though, Laurel’s competitive nature kicks in—not only can she not throw it, she can’t help but dominate it.
The challenge only showed how great Abram and Laurel are as a pair, even if they personally can’t stand each other. Each team had two pairs of players hold a giant Martini glass. The task was to carry a ball perched on top of the glass from the bottom of the hill to the top. Abram and Laurel did it four times. Every other pair combined to do it once. Gray won, and as soon as it was over, Laurel cursed out her team for doubting her.
Red and Blue each deliberated quickly, with Johnny, Tyler, Theresa, and Tori all volunteering themselves. But now they have to get through C.T. and Tina.
Before we get to that, we must rank:
My picks: Theresa over Tori, Johnny over Tyler
I think Tori will end up forfeiting, and the Johnny/Tyler matchup just comes down to whomever C.T. decides to go easy on.
11. Cara Maria, (Gray, N/A): Laurel and Sarah are still contemplating throwing a challenge, which would put her in danger.
10. Jenn (Blue, -5): It’s hard to imagine that she would make it to the final without going to the Gulag once.
9. Brad (Red, N/A): He admitted last night that he’s played this Challenge with his “balls in [Tori’s] purse.”
8. Luke (Gray, N/A): It’s possible that Laurel and Sarah will go after Abram next, protecting Luke, but that would really undermine their whole “make the team better” philosophy.
7. Paula (Red, N/A): If Tori loses, then she’ll be the only Red girl left.
6. Sarah (Gray, —): Next week could come down to a Cara Maria vs. Sarah vote for Gray.
5. Derrick (Blue, -2): It’s looking like Blue is on a pure rotation system for the Gulag, and it’s Derrick’s turn next.
4. Emily (Blue, +5): It’s odd, but I think her spot in the final was secured by her last Gulag win.
3. Dunbar (Red, +5): The chaos on Red has really helped him.
2. Laurel (Gray, —): She’s been annoying this season, but it was nice to see her dominate a challenge again.
1. Abram (Gray, —): It was also nice to see someone not overreact to getting cursed at on this show.