“I’m scared to die.” —Camila
First off, my most sincere apologies for the delay on this week’s rankings. I was unavoidably detained. Luckily, I will be able to provide a prompt recap of this week’s finale.
Last week’s episode, on the other hand, seemed like a lot of filler. With two teams needlessly sent home at the beginning of the season, MTV had to do some reshuffling to reach the usual ten episodes for a season of The Challenge. As a result, the episode killed a lot of time focusing on Mark’s choice of headgear and Robin’s latest crisis of confidence before getting to the task at hand: The final Dome.
When we last left this group, Mark and Robin had been selected to compete against Johnny and Camila, meaning one of the two most powerful couples wouldn’t see the Final Challenge. The Dome competition was X Battle—the same wrestling challenge that Ty/Emily won in Week 5, and that Leroy/Naomi won in Week 2. In the first heat, Camila beat Robin twice in a row, despite Robin’s rigorous preparation of writing her son’s name on her arm. I figured Mark would take Johnny in the second heat, but Johnny continued his surprisingly successful run this season and sent the old man home.
With Johnny/Camila, C.T./Diem, and Ty/Emily left for the Final Challenge, Battle of the Exes might be the first time that the final teams are the most deserving ones: They combined for five of the eight Power Couple wins, and half of the Dome victories. It’s hard to really find fault with this final three.
Ty also declared that “the teams that have made it the farthest are the teams that have come the furthest,” which is true enough for two of the pairs: Johnny and Camila haven’t come all that far—they started off liking each other and they still like each other. Still, after MTV told the final three that they’d be going to Iceland for the Final Challenge,* it was a boring love-fest, with all the contestants getting along and telling each other how important they were to one another. At least Rivals had Kenny and Wes to make the final more interesting.
*At this point, why do the contestants always seemed so shocked when they learn they’re going to relocate for the Final Challenge? They do this every season! It would be more shocking if you stayed in one place.
Once the Final Challenge began, the episode’s focus shifted to MTV’s efforts to constantly outdo itself with the Final Challenge. The first two legs of this one involved dog-sledding and sprinting up a mountain. Lastly, the pairs had to strip down to their underwear, wade into the water, and touch a buoy. It may not sound like much, but the water was really cold. So cold a producer had to warn the contestants not to spend more than 30 seconds in the water, or else they might, you know, die.
With the fastest time, C.T. and Diem got the best tent and sleeping bags for their night on the mountain. Meanwhile, Ty and Emily were basically sleeping on the frozen ground, thanks to their last-place time. Sleep well, folks, for tomorrow we die!
I hate to be anticlimactic about it, but it seems to me like the order the teams are currently in is pretty indicative of how things will play out. Ty and Emily have been great in Dome-like competitions, where the focus is on bursts of strength, but they haven’t fared as well when teamwork or extended competition is required. Plus, Emily may have the same problems Laurel had with endurance in Finals.
Meanwhile, C.T. and Diem have been on fire since they started getting along, and it really doesn’t seem wise to bet against C.T. in a final. So, the last rankings of Exes:
3) Ty/Emily (-1): I’ll be rooting for these two to come in second.
2) Johnny/Camila (+1): These two peaked too early.
1) C.T./Diem (—): The rightful heirs to the throne!