“Let’s make things interesting: The Power Couple will get $2500… and I will personally give you a pat on the back.” —TJ Lavin
Diem: “Wow, I’m excited for this one. The money’s cool..”
C.T.: “The pat on the back is cool!”
Like Rivals, the most compelling relationship of this season involves C.T., but unlike Rivals—when C.T. and Adam seemed to follow a slow but steady path toward reconciliation—Battle of the Exes has not renewed or repaired C.T. and Diem’s relationship. Throughout the season, they’ve been perhaps the most distant couple. They’ve rarely shared any scenes together, and when they have it’s usually been to talk about how they haven’t been talking.
It doesn’t take a degree in psychology to figure out that why: Unlike most of the other couples, they hadn’t seen or spoken in years, and unlike the other relationships in the house, this one was really important to both of them. Since they’ve been mostly polite to each other, and they haven’t lost or won a challenge yet, they haven’t had a lot of screen time; but based on their confessionals and brief interactions (and, of course, knowing C.T.’s history of dealing with anger), they’d always seemed one wrong word from being at each other’s throats.
Last night, that “wrong word” came when C.T. compared Paula and Ty—who finally gave into their ongoing flirtation last night—to himself and Diem on The Duel. Diem objected to comparing what she called “a fling” to what she had with C.T., which was “something real.” From there the fight escalated into who valued the relationship more, who had actually moved on, and who was actually to blame for their relationship’s failure. It ended with Diem in tears and C.T. venting to Aneesa.
Compare this fight with the one between Camila and Johnny last week. Both fights started during a night out for the cast, and both ended with a girl in tears. But, in reality, the fights were totally different. Camila’s fight with Johnny was more violent, but it was simpler: She was upset that Johnny wasn’t paying more attention to her, and she had too much to drink. The next morning she understood immediately why she’d been so upset, and by the beginning of last night’s episode, she and Johnny seemed fine.
On the other hand, C.T. and Diem’s fight was less explosive but more complex. They weren’t fighting about any one thing, but about the totality of their relationship. When Camila was at her angriest, she threatened to kill Johnny, but when Diem was at her most upset, she questioned C.T.’s sanity and stability (“I’ve never thrown someone’s head into a wall, but you have.”). Which one of those actually seems more hurtful? Unlike Johnny and Camila, C.T. and Diem don’t seem likely to make up anytime soon.
Which is a shame, because they actually seemed to be coming into their own as a team. They were nearly the Power Couple in last night’s challenge, “Lube Me Up,” which played to their strengths by being essentially an individual challenge. Working in heats divided by gender, the players had to slide down a slip-and-slide into a pool, retrieve a ball from the pool, and climb back up the greased up slip-and-slide. Like musical chairs, there was always one fewer ball than player, meaning that one team would be eliminated with each heat.
Finally, though, the all-girl team has the advantage. As the only team with two players in the same heat, they were the only team that could devise any type of strategy or teamwork. Naturally, given their allegiances, they decided to target Camila in the first heat, hoping to send her and Johnny into the Dome. It was a good plan, but Camila is feisty, and she managed to get her ball up the hill anyway. Rachel and Aneesa did manage to get up the hill as well, and Robin and Diem snuck by in all the commotion. That left Emily and Paula fighting for the last remaining ball.
Watching these two fight for the last ball was like watching a lion attack a gazelle on some nature channel. Emily, still upset from being sent into the Dome in Week 3, clearly targeted Paula—she apparently didn’t even bother chasing after a ball, and instead simply waited for Paula get hers, and then wrestled it away from her. Paula put up a fight, but Emily was too much, and she managed to send Paula into the Dome without even claiming the title of Power Couple.
Which was lucky, because Ty was eliminated in the first male heat, ending any shot she had at TJ’s pat on the back. In the second girl heat, Rachel seemed to abandon her original strategy without telling Aneesa, hanging her partner out to try. Robin managed to grab the last ball, eliminating Aneesa and Rachel. Johnny and C.T. won the next male heat, setting up a final showdown of Diem and Camila. The two fought for the ball all the way up the hill, but Camila was the first one to grab it at the top, pulling out another win for her and Johnny.
Of course, just as the 1% never stop whining about their taxes, Johnny complained about the perils of being Power Couple. Even though he’s now $2,500 richer, and even though he got a nice pat on the back from TJ, Johnny’s upset that he now has to decide who Dunbar/Paula will face in the Dome.
The choice came down to Aneesa/Rachel or Ty/Emily. The former were clearly targeting Johnny/Camila, but the latter were clearly the stronger team overall. Ultimately, they chose to send in the team that didn’t like them (Aneesa/Rachel) over the team that might actually beat them. I’m not sure it was the right strategy—if Aneesa and Rachel couldn’t win Power Couple last night, they probably never will, so they’re not much of a threat. On the other hand, you should always try to eliminate a team with a strong girl. I suspect a lot of it had to do with trying to placate Paula, who desperately didn’t want to face Emily in the Dome.
Going up against Aneesa/Rachel in the Dome was much more reasonable. The elimination challenge—“Banded Together”—was one that Ty/Emily had already won, and one that seemed particularly hard without a male player. Aneesa/Rachel held their own, but Dunbar/Paula won in the end (as Mark Safan would say).
Now, rank me Amadeus!
Is it chauvinistic to say that I’m impressed by how far they made it without a guy? Yes? OK, then I’m not impressed.
5) Dunbar/Paula (-1): Though they’ve won Power Couple before, they’re clearly the worst remaining pair at physical challenges.
4) C.T./Diem (+1): I really hope these two can work out their issues…
3) Ty/Emily (—): I loved how Emily hunted Paula down to send her into the Dome, but I can’t tell if her resentment of Ty’s relationship with Paula is personal or purely strategic.
2) Mark/Robin (-1): Mark really likes making fun of his own age, huh?
1) Johnny/Camila (+1): The return of the king (and queen)…