“I really want to win this Challenge. I feel like I’m one of the best competitors to ever be on The Challenge, and at the same time I feel like the Dan Marino of The Challenge. One of the best quarterbacks ever, a Hall of Famer—doesn’t have a ring. I don’t want to be Dan Marino. I want to be Tom Brady.” —C.T.
“I will be shot before I let Camila and Jemmye beat me to that yacht.” —Emily
People complain a lot about gimmickry in sports. Of course, what makes something a “gimmick” usually depends on your perspective. Baseball’s second wildcard certainly seems like a gimmick… until you’re a Yankees fan with no other hope of seeing the postseason.
Still, one gimmick I am decidedly against is eliminating players in the middle of a challenge. It seems to me that the whole point of devising these long, elaborate Final Challenges is so the teams have to be good at a lot of different things in order to win. That way, teams that fall behind after one event can make it up in the future. Conversely, teams that build big leads are always in danger of blowing it if they run into something they can’t do.
But eliminating a team after the first leg of a multistage challenge erases these possibilities. If the thing you’re weakest at happens to come first, then you are shit out of luck. This looked to be the case for Cooke/Cara Maria on Wednesday night, when Cara Maria, who had been violently dreading any swimming on the Final Challenge, had to swim her way to the first puzzle. And, indeed, Cooke/Cara Maria were the last team to start the puzzle, but luckily they were able to make up ground on the puzzle itself. Camila/Jemmye were not as lucky—their weakness was puzzles, and their inability to finish the puzzle on “Dream Island” got them eliminated from the game for good.
I didn’t expect Camila/Jemmye to win the Final Challenge—I predicted last week that they’d finish last—but it still seems shitty that they don’t even get to try.* Similarly, one guy team will have a premature evacuation.
*Plus, it directly contradicts TJ’s assertion that you have to finish the Final Challenge to get the third place prize.
Luckily, it looks like that team will be Jordan/Marlon.* That’s not lucky for my predictions, since I went out on a limb to pick them to win it all last week. Still, their elimination would set up a Final showdown between the vets. Specifically, it would pit Johnny, a steady but unspectacular competitor with a great winning percentage, against C.T. a historically great Challenge competitor who’s never won.
*MTV went to “To Be Continued…” before the guy’s leg was over, but here’s my logic: The camera angle used to show the kayak capsizing didn’t reveal which team it was. Presumably this was done to heighten the drama, but if it had been Johnny/Frank who capsized, it would have been more dramatic to REVEAL it was them. After all, they had a slight lead, and them capsizing would give Jordan/Marlon an opportunity to catch up. So it only makes sense to hide the identity of the capsizers it were the rookies. Which pretty much kills their chances of surviving…
On the flip side, eliminating Camila/Jemmye at least sets up an interesting match up on the girls’ side, with Emily/Paula, the team that’s dominated Rivals II, going against persistent underdogs Cooke/Cara Maria. So I guess the gimmick worked out. What was I complaining about?
And now my revised predictions:
Eliminated: Aneesa/Diem & Camila/Jemmye
As I predicted last week, Diem panicked almost immediately in the Hanging by a Thread elimination, and she and Aneesa never recovered. But at least she doesn’t harbor any ill will towards C.T.
Girls Predictions: 1) Cooke/Cara Maria 2) Emily/Paula
I’m sticking with my predictions from last week here. After all, Cara Maria has already faced her biggest weakness and they are still in first.
Guys Predictions: 1) C.T./Wes 2) Johnny/Frank 3) Jordan/Marlon
This isn’t so much a “prediction” as a literal description of the current order. At this point I’m basically throwing up my hands trying to predict the male order. I’m pretty confident Jordan/Marlon are done for now, and it appears I’ve underestimated C.T. and Wes, so maybe C.T. will finally go from Marino to Brady. But what do I know?