“Everyone’s puking. I’ve never seen so many people go to the medic in my life.” —Zach
“I have the endurance of a young, virgin colt.” —Chet
As is the custom for the penultimate episode of the Challenge, MTV relocated somewhere even more remote in last night’s episode, in this case Namibia. The contestants always get really excited when they find out where they are going, which makes sense, but from a viewer’s perspective, it’s like, Eh, one foreign country’s the same as the next.
On the other hand, the location of the final challenge always shapes its look, and Namibia seems to mean deserts. Last night’s challenge, though, was pretty basic, as they have generally been all season long: Called “Sling Shot,” the team’s were split in pairs, where one player rode a four-wheel ATV that pulled the other along a ramp and shot them into the water. Once in the water, that player had to swim to a bell and back.
As Power Team, San Diego had Las Vegas go first, but Dustin is a great swimmer, and he pulled off a great time. He was winded and puking by the end, but it was a great time nonetheless. Vegas, like Cancun, only had two players, so Dustin’s great time stood for the team, while Brooklyn and San Diego had to average two times. Brooklyn put together two solid times, from Sarah and JD, though Sarah struggled climbing to the bell slightly, which might have cost her team the win.
On the low end, both San Diego and Cancun ran into some problems. For Cancun, Derek ran out of breath in the water, while Ashley had problems on the ATV, only launching Frank slightly into the water. Luckily for San Diego, Zach put together a better time, lowering the team’s average, while Cancun was stuck with Derek’s paltry performance, and thus sent into Cancun into the Arena.
With Las Vegas earning its first win, the new Power Team sent San Diego into the Arena, meaning that Frank and Ashley went in against Derek and Jonna. Fittingly, this meant that everyone in the game has now seen the Arena.
The Arena challenge was Strategy, or the knot challenge we’ve seen twice before. It was a lot closer than I expected—I thought Frank and Ashley would win easily—especially after Frank and Ashley screwed up and tied a new knot as they were untying. Still, though, Frank and Ashley were able to recover, while Jonna had trouble dealing with the advice from the sidelines. So Jonna, who’d manage to skate by on Zach’s coattails this whole challenge, ended up being sent up just before the final.
With the final all that’s left in this long, drawn-out season, we’re left with two teams of four—Brooklyn, San Diego—and one pair, Las Vegas. And there are a lot of question marks around all three: Brooklyn has Devyn, the most obvious weak link. San Diego has similar problems with Sam, not to mention the internal dysfunction they’ve had all season long. And Dustin and Trishelle, who are coming off their first win and actually might be the strongest team overall, have hated each other all season.
And now, one last ranking:
Eliminated: Derek & Jonna (Cancun)
In the interest of meritocracy, I’m glad these two finished out of the money.
3) Brooklyn (Chet/JD/Sarah/Devyn) (-1): Weak links always come into play during final challenges, and Devyn still recoils at the thought of physical activity.
2) Las Vegas (Dustin/Trishelle) (+2): If I’m setting odds, it’s hard to make them the favorite, but they are my dark horse pick to win next week.
1) San Diego (Frank/Zach/Sam/Ashley) (—): For better or worse, San Diego has dominated this season, both in terms of competition and the storyline. Going into the final, it’s theirs to lose. And I think they will…