First off, wouldn’t “Crouching Tyger, Hidden Brandon” be a much better episode title, especially considering the tension between the two? They not only got into an argument and almost a fight, but wound up facing off in the Gulag. Come on, MTV, that was a soft pitch you completely whiffed on. The only thing Dan did in the episode was perform well (as always), throw out his snarky dead on interview commentary and call his mom to get his head on straight with being sober in a house full of drunken animals (good on him for that, by the way, I don’t mean to undercut it, but that’s in the first 5 minutes of the episode). Anyway, as you can tell by my graceful into, this episode was kind of all about Ty. The beginning of the episode finds Brandon and Ty getting into it after Brandon bets Ty he can’t sink a ping pong ball into a glass across the room. The bet is that Ty wins money if he makes it and has to perform a homosexual act on another player in the game, Luke I think. He misses and then tells Brandon they can do anything in the world together. I can’t tell if that’s an invitation to mess around or fight. As usual with Ty, it goes nowhere, a bunch of other housemates get in the way and both combatants walk away.
None of which is actually important, but does add drama to the episode and evidence in the eventual court case against Ty when he snaps and starts battering woman and children (I’d put money on that happening with a side bet that it might be me for writing shit like that about a clearly unstable man with muscles that might only be for show, more on that throughout the post). The challenge, this time around, was called Surf’s Up and was basically a swimming race, but instead of diving into the water normally, you and another person from your team have to jump on a surfboard suspended 40 feet on the air and try to balance your way all the way down. Whether you succeed in that initial task or fall, you still have to do two laps and ring the bell on land after both teammates make it to the finish line. If you have an odd number of players, one person will have to go twice. Since read won the previous challenge, they got to choose the order which went Blue, Gray and then Red.
The Blue pairings broke down to Johnny & Derrick, Emily & Jenn, Theresa & Katie and finally Ty & Derrick again. The first pair goes through without any real problems. The second makes its way down the surf line to the end, but Emily doesn’t do so well on the swim. Katie nearly knocks Theresa off the board, but Theresa actually backs her mouth up a little and holds Katie on and then basically drags Katie through the water. Finally, right after telling the camera that he’s probably the best athletic person on the team (remember, he came in last in the challenge last episode and tied with Easy for the Gulag), he jumps on the board with Derrick and immediately pulls him off so the pair go tumbling. The Gray pairings include Luke & Abram, who have no problems with it, Laurel & Sarah who also do well but of course Laurel complains to the camera about Sarah being such a fast swimmer (huh?) and finally Cara Maria & Dan. CM screws up and Dan basically drags her through the water, but this is when having so few people is an advantage (they only had to do three pairs instead of four like Blue or five like Red).
Red did not have a good time with the challenge. Every single pairing fell off the surf board and two players got hurt. Chet & Dan kicked things off, but Chet didn’t look so good after the fall. He wound up going to the hospital and was gone for most of the rest of the episode. Tori & Camila and Paula & Melinda both fall but make it through unscathed. It’s not until Brandon & Dunbar jump in that things get really bad. Brandon starts freaking out like he’s drowning and quits the challenge. Turns out it was a bad leg cramp and he panicked. The DQ added 20 minutes to their time which, combined with the bad surfing and more teams pretty much put the nails in the coffin before Tyler & Brad even had their turn. Unsurprisingly, the contest came down to Blue and Gray with the lean, mean Gray taking home the victory and getting the fancy dinner.
An interesting thing about this episode is that we weren’t shown the teams talking about who they wanted to send home before the vote. The scene opens in the sitting-before-voting-and-finding-out-who’s-going-into-the-Gulag room, TJ comes in and tells them that Chet will be at the hospital, that he won’t be up for the Gulag and that it would be cold to send him in anyway after being hurt (didn’t seem to bother Blue when Katie got that shiner) and then he sent them down to vote. Blue’s votes were unanimous on both sides, though we didn’t see anyone talking about it, with Ty and Katie both going in and obviously voting for themselves. Meanwhile, everyone on Red voted for Brandon to go in for the guys and it came down to Melinda and Camila for the girls, with Camila getting the most votes. That night, Camila and Paula had a conversation where Paula brought up the general team distrust with her seeing Johnny and that if she comes back this time, Paula at least won’t vote for her next time (we’ll see about that).
The real, post-voting drama came thanks to Ty being a ticking timebomb and sociopath who takes things far too seriously without understanding why what he’s doing is wrong, even after the fact. It all started with some joking between him and Emily who eggs him on. Emily sprays Ty with shaving cream, so, naturally, he retaliates by throwing a plant in her bed, smashing it against the wall and eventually pulling the entire bunk bed down on what looks like Emily’s legs. The next day Johnny tells Ty he needs to relax, but Ty tells the camera he’s never sorry for what he does. Sociopath.
You’d think it’s time for drama to end and competition to begin with the Gulag, but that was not the case. This time around the Gulag was called Pole Me Over. Both contestants were connected to opposite ends of a pole and had to push their opponent into barrels behind them. Doing this twice wins the match. Ty and Brandon were up first and things didn’t look good for Brandon as Ty made fairly short work of him in the first round. It looked like that would be the case the second time around, but Brandon stopped him about three feet in front of his own barrels and tried pushing back. Instead of actually forcing Ty back, he fell over the chains and didn’t get up right away. TJ told him to get up, he didn’t, then TJ counted down from five, blew the horn and that round went to Brandon. We all expected Ty to get back up for the third round, but he never did, even with everyone on his team shouting at him like animals. Soon enough he was DQed and Brandon walked away with the upset, proving that Ty is all talk.
Ty gave a great performance of being hurt and not able to stand, explaining in his interview that his body couldn’t do it. I call bullshit. I don’t know why he quit on the game, but it seems like he was just trying to garner sympathy. In his mind, it might have worked, but as the missus pointed out, none of these Challenge regulars are going to forget the way he just lied down and died. It’s ironic that he’ll now be remembered much like Easy who he went after in the previous episodes. SUCK IT! The girl’s Gulag wasn’t super interesting. Camila won in two rounds. It looked like Katie tried, kinda, but I think she was tired both mentally and physically. She’s not crafty enough to form an alliance and I don’t know how many times she’d have to go into the Gulag to prove himself. At this point, it was kind of like putting down a wounded animal.
So, at the end of the episode Red and Gray maintained their numbers, though we’re still not sure what’s up with Chet (they show him at the end of the episode in the hospital and bring up the sound of the heart monitor super loud), but Blue’s down two players. That leaves Red with nine (possibly eight if Chet has to go home), Gray with six and Blue with a measly five. The most interesting thing we’ll see going forward is how the supposedly leaner and meaner Blue reacts when/if they lose another challenge, specifically when it comes to guys. They’ve only got Derrick and Johnny as far as guys go and then two rookie women (Theresa and Laurel) and old dog Jenn. Jenn will probably luck out unless the other two girls get smart and vote for her. We’ll see about that, as the voting has still been pretty obvious. Camila did pretty well for Red, yet this is the second time she’s gone to Gulag (same for Brandon actually). Why not Paula? Man, she’s lucking out that Camila’s been there, but that won’t last forever. They’ve got to learn soon enough that she’s dead weight. Tori seems to be benefiting from being with Brad because no one has voted for her, though I can’t remember her being a particularly strong contestant ant any point. But the real question is WHEN IS CT GETTING THERE?!