“There will be blood.” —Cara Maria
Frank is ridiculous. That is the conclusion I’ve reached after watching him for two seasons now. He gets so absurdly, unjustifiably upset about such strange things—he’s like the understudy Jerry dated on Seinfeld.
In Wednesday’s episode, he lashed out at Jordan, multiple times, simply because Jordan accused him of campaigning to have him thrown into the Jungle, which is exactly what Frank was doing. But not only did Frank insist that such allegations “could not be more untrue,” he acted like Jordan accused him of violating the sanctity of the Sunday truce or something. And by getting so angry with Jordan—and borderline violent—all he did was make Marlon/Jordan, a strong team, more deadest on going after him.*
*Of course the extent to which any one team can “go after” another given the terrible, awful, no-good, very bad voting structure, is severely confined.
All of it only made me appreciate Johnny’s strategic acumen more. Johnny generally gets a lot of credit as an elder statesman of the Challenges, and I’ve always felt this was essentially undeserved. Johnny’s grasp of “strategy” is as tenuous as the rest of the cast-members; his insight mainly consists of yelling versions of “don’t put a target on your back” and calling opinions not his own “the dumbest idea” he’s ever heard. He’s only benefited, as all the veterans do, from established connections after being around for nine seasons.
But his performance Wednesday was somewhat impressive. First, he talked the girls into voting Marlon/Jordan into the Jungle, instead of Knight/Preston. From the girls’ perspective, it made no sense to alienate a new team, particularly one that’s proven itself capable of winning challenges. They have no interest in sending a strong team home—the girls just need to avoid making enemies. But Johnny swung the vote based on his powers of persuasion, and the fact that, as Paula said, the girls feel they need to do what Johnny says.*
*If you want to point that Paula’s reasoning is stupid because Marlon/Jordan are just as capable of winning the next challenge and controlling the girls’ order as Johnny/Frank are… well, I can’t argue with you there.
Plus, when Jordan got upset about being thrown in, Johnny had the good sense to simply level with him and admit what he did. Yes, we wanted you in the Jungle. Yes, it’s because you are a strong team. That’s how this game works. If Frank had handled it that way, it’s possible Marlon/Jordan wouldn’t be so against that team.
Of course, after their dreadful performance in Wednesday’s challenge, Marlon/Jordan might not be an intimidating team for anyone. In Blind Leading the Blind—a fun challenge to watch as blindfolded contestants were repeatedly shocked on their way through a maze—Marlon/Jordan were only saved by the even MORE dreadful performance by Leroy/Ty. Seriously, at one point Ty and Leroy went backwards all the way to the starting point.
On the girl’s side, Jonna/Nany were even more egregious, not moving at all yet spending the entire time allotted screaming at each other about who was in more pain. When they took their blindfolds off, they seemed genuinely shocked by how much of the maze they had left. Did they not realize they hadn’t moved for 30 minutes? Were they in so much pain that they hallucinated walking?
Surprisingly, Paula/Emily did NOT win—Aneesa/Diem got their first win, while Johnny/Frank won for the guys. The Jungle was the same challenge Robb/Derek did against Dunbar/Tyrie back in Week 1—basically a dual Oklahoma Drill. Round 1 was incredibly close, with Jordan racing to the bell just milliseconds faster than Ty. Leroy/Ty rebounded in Round 2, forcing Marlon all the way towards his own bell as Ty ran through them to even the score. That situation seemed to repeat itself in Round 3, with Ty getting to the bell before Jordan could break through the hallway. But Marlon fastened Ty to the ground—he was almost directly under his bell, but couldn’t stand up to ring it. Eventually Jordan broke free from Leroy, and sprinted to the opposite bell, giving Marlon/Jordan a huge win, and sending Leroy/Ty home.
Now the hills are alive with sound of rankings…
I really like Leroy, and I’ll be sad to see him go, but a Marlon/Jordan win was the more intriguing possibility for future episodes.
9) Jonna/Nany (-2): How could I not rank them last after what TJ called “the most pitiful thing I’ve seen in my life”?
8) Cooke/Cara Maria (+1): Not a particularly impressive challenge for Cara Maria, though she pointed out that this was “punch somebody pain,” not sexy pain.
7) Knight/Preston (+3): Knight/Preston have gone from deadweight that needs to be jettisoned to kindling that can be useful to burn.
6) Camila/Jemmye (-1): A good challenge for Camila, but is Jemmye anything but an albatross?
5) Marlon/Jordan (+3): There’s likely only one more male Jungle, and if they don’t win immunity, they’ll be in it.
4) Aneesa/Diem (-1): It’s weird to drop them after a win, but Aneesa criticized Diem for exercising too much. That can’t bode well.
3) C.T./Wes (+1): Another strong challenge performance, even if they couldn’t pull out the win.
2) Johnny/Frank (—): I considered putting them first, but after Frank’s outburst…
1) Emily/Paula (—): A second loss showed some chinks in the armor, but they’re still on top… for now.