“Robin is actually doing exceptionally well: She hasn’t totally freaked out and she’s not crying yet!” —Mark
One of the biggest factors determining whether or not a reality show contestant is well-liked has to be how entitled he or she seems. Players who come into the game acting as if they are somehow owed a pass to the finals come off as spoiled, whereas audiences will root for anyone if they feel he’s earned his keep.
Compare, for example, Camila and Paula in last night’s episode of Battle of the Exes. When C.T./Diem announced their decision to send Dunbar/Paula into the Dome—a puzzling decision that even TJ criticized—Paula took it in stride and didn’t complain, even though it pitted her against her new beau Ty. Dunbar was a little confused, but only because he didn’t understand the logic behind the move.
As a result of their stoicism, it was sad to see the two of them go, particularly in a relatively dull elimination challenge (which was really just a toothless, nonviolent version of the game Adam screwed up on Rivals); although it was nice to see Ty/Emily—another team that’s put in its work, with three Dome wins now—move on after their ugly fight last week.
On the other hand, Camila cried so much after having to go first in the challenge that you’d think she was Robin.* As Power Couple, C.T./Diem shrewdly had Johnny/Camila, the toughest team, go first. This led a comically inept sequence in which the two dominant players flailed through a challenge with no strategy.
*I could not keep track of the number of times Robin cried in last night’s episode. It was at least five, including once when she seemed to bring up Hurricane Katrina victims for no apparent reason.
The challenge involved carrying items (for some reason the items were picnic-themed) across the path of 80-mph winds (generated by airplane jets, in what I cannot imagine was an environmentally friendly manner). Camila got tossed and flipped so much by the winds that they couldn’t complete it in the allotted 20 minutes. Mark and Robin fared slightly better, using a strategy that was heavy on crawling, but they also failed to finish.
That left Ty/Emily and C.T./Diem; Ty/Emily were good, but C.T./Diem were better. Running head-first into hurricane-force winds is just the kind of thing C.T. is great at.
For the second challenge in a row, C.T. and Diem had to decide who was going into the Dome. Logic suggests that they send in Ty and Emily, who have the best shot at sending Johnny/Camila home. But they’ve been in three times already, and C.T. and Diem each clearly felt that Mark/Robin should earn their spot in the finals. Mark, in fact, has never faced an elimination challenge in his career.* Ultimately, C.T. and Diem went with what they thought was fair over what they thought was best for their chances, and sent Mark/Robin into the Dome. Gotta respect that…
*This fact is slightly less impressive when you realize that this is only his third Challenge with elimination challenges: The Battles of the Sexes simply used voting, and the original Challenge didn’t eliminate players at all.
We don’t need brackets for these rankings:
It’s always sad to see Paula go, since she’s so great for quotes, and this season was the most I’ve ever liked Dunbar.
4) Mark/Robin (-2): How does Mark expect to win in the Dome with no elimination challenge experience?
3) Johnny/Camila (—): It’s nice to see the dominant team of a season forced to face an elimination round.
2) Ty/Emily (+3): These two definitely deserve to be in the finals, and I’m happy they got there.
1) C.T./Diem (—): It looks like there’s a new kingpin in town…