“What is a second? It’s like… a second!” —Jasmine
As reality television has grown and evolved, a lot of attention has been paid to producers’ Orwellian attempts to spy on every aspect of the participants’ lives: The Real World producers alone have infamously put microphones in headboards to capture the cast’s pillow-talk, filmed a cast member receiving the news that his mother died, and captured a girl getting slapped in the face. Lost in all of this, though, is the fact that the secret to reality TV’s success is what the cameras don’t show.
Last night’s episode of Battle of the Exes was a perfect example. With Johnny/Camila once again in the position of Power Couple, they have to choose which team to send into the Dome against Tyrie and Jasmine. Johnny is leaning toward sending in Rachel, who voted against him on The Island (Dude, can hold a grudge—that Challenge was almost four years ago), and her partner, Aneesa, but Mark, Rachel’s friend, tries to intervene on her behalf.
Then shit gets really complicated thanks to something Camila tells Johnny that Rachel told her at some unspecified point, in front of other people who never actually confirm Camila’s story. Camila claims that Rachel tried to ever-so-casually throw Mark and Robin under the bus by saying that Robin wasn’t performing well, and that Mark didn’t actually want to be there.
Of course, if the cameras had actually caught this exchange, then it would be obvious what was going on: Rachel was so desperate to avoid the Dome that she was willing to betray her friend. She would have come off as unsympathetic, and Johnny’s decision would have been easy and boring.
Instead, the situation became far more complex because it was never quite clear what was going on. Had Rachel actually said those things? Was Camila making it up? Why would she do that? Does she see Aneesa/Rachel as a threat, or does she just not like them? Is Mark actually upset? Would Mark have been able to convince Johnny to chose another team if Rachel hadn’t pissed him off? Is Johnny just seizing on any excuse to vote in Rachel?
The outcome was the same—Aneesa/Rachel would have been the team to throw in even on a purely strategic level, since they are the least likely to win a challenge in the future—but the journey was a lot more interesting.
On the other hand, the camera’s blind spots can often fail to provide context, as was the case with C.T. and Diem last night. They continued to have problems communicating. C.T. insisted that it was hurting them in challenges, but as the challenges to this point haven’t really required communication* of any kind, it was hard to figure out exactly where his concerns were coming from.
*Here are some of the things that HAVE been tested on challenges thus far: swimming, the ability to retain honey on your person, walking, knowledge of Britney Spears’ marital history, and the ability to fall into the water without getting injured.
Most likely, of course, his concerns are general ones about the state of his relationship with Diem. More than any other couple in the house, they seem to be walking on eggshells around each other. Clearly, their feelings for each other are quite complicated, but also quite positive. I don’t imagine I was the only one who agreed with Jasmine last night when she said she just wanted to see them get back together already.
And I will always rank youuuuuuuuuuuu:
I am definitely happy to see these two go—they were by far the least likable and least interesting couple—though I did feel Jasmine’s pain after Tyrie fell on her.
7) Aneesa/Rachel (—): I don’t think these two can get to Power Couple status, but I’m glad that we have a few vendettas building up in the house.
6) Dunbar/Paula (-3): Speaking of vendettas, this pair is squarely in Ty and Emily’s crosshairs after last week.
5) Abram/Cara Maria (+1): These two seem to be on better terms—after the challenge, they kissed.
4) C.T./Diem (+1): Though this episode was largely about their problems communicating, it was the first time they seemed to develop a good strategy for a challenge.
3) Mark/Robin (-1): Robin’s poor social game, and the fact that their names were mentioned at all for the Dome do not bode well.
2) Ty/Emily (+1): Ty still has an incredibly inflated sense of his own abilities, but this pair seems to be clicking now that they have a purpose (destroying Dunbar/Paula).
1) Johnny/Camilla (—): They go together like peanut butter and…bananas! Get it?!