There was a pretty shocking moment in tonight’s episode of The Challenge: Rivals. No, it wasn’t a potentially bone-crushing injury one of the cast members suffered, nor the ruse perpetrated by one of the teams, it was Paula playing the game with her head instead of her heart. How, you ask? Read on, friends! Before getting into the action we see the pre-challenge hang out portion of the show. This time around that includes Mike dressing up like Tyler for some reason, Cara Maria complaining (rightfully so) that Laurel’s not communicating with her, CT and Mandi flirting, Wes saying he could possibly have a thing for Mandi if she wasn’t interested in CT, Paula saying Mike is fascinating and hilarious, Ev saying that going into the Jungle with Paula and winning really helped their team, Theresa and Camila talking about communication and a fight between CT and Wes. You know, the one we’ve been shown from the beginning which meant Wes and Kenny would be coming back from the Jungle last episode.That whole thing was pretty stupid and didn’t actually do anything except maybe fire CT up even more. Wes and CT are sitting down and talking about something, CT seems to be kind blazed on red wine like a neglected housewife and Wes decides this is the time to start needling him. Wes says he wants CT out of the game which sets CT off because that translates into Wes wanting to take food off CT’s family’s table (does he have a family?). Nothing happens. Then Wes goes inside and throws CT’s bed off the balcony. CT goes back upstairs and there’s no more yelling, but again nothing happens. At some point, Wes tells the camera he wishes he hadn’t started all this because it turned into this huge yelling thing for two hours. It’s all pretty pointless and goes to show how little actually happens in this episode. They even argued the next day until Johnny, Evan and Kenny call Wes away.
The day’s challenge is called Sink Or Swim. Each team is put into a giant box that’s dangling over water (of course) filled with a bunch of sand. When the bell rings they’ve got to throw enough sand out of the box so they’ll raise up to a platform even higher over the water. They then have to make their way to a certain point way out in the water. The teams have to jump towards a zip line that’s supposed to fit both of them. You either ride the zip line and wind up really close to the end point or fall and have to swim. Two teams go at the same time and the shortest overall time wins. It’s a women’s challenge so they’re going for safety and dudes are playing for money. Since CT and Adam came back from the Jungle last time so they got to pick the order. Ladies go first.Jonna and Jasmine got pitted against Theresa and Camila.
Jonna and Jasmine are pissed to be going first which is strange because it’s not like they’re down with CT and Adam or anything, but I guess they just needed something to complain about because they hadn’t gotten into a fight yet this episode. Being the classy broads they are, these two teams turn the whole thing into a dirt fight. Jasmine almost gives up because theirs isn’t moving. Theresa and Camila get to the line and fall, so it’s swim time. Jasmine and Jonna follow suit. Sarah and Katelynn then go up against Laurel and Cara Maria. The latter team takes an early lead, but decided to reach out and pull the zip line towards them instead of jumping. This got them disqualified. Sarah and Katelynn finished. The final group of women was Jenn and Mandi against Ev and Paula. Ev and Paula take the lead, neither nail the zip line and both do alright.
The guys actually did it all a lot faster, but it was just for cash, not glory. Brandon and Ty go up against Mike and Leroy first. Not only is Mike scared of heights, but when they jump for the zipline, Mike falls first and Leroy lands on top of him knee first, smashing his ribs and making him spit blood. Even though he’s all messed up, he still finished ahead of his partner. Mike gets taken to the hospital. More on him later. Nehemiah and Evan then go up against Tyler and Johnny. Neither of them do very well for the jump to the zip line. Tyler didn’t even go for it, then Even and Nehemiah just seem to jump into the water, but not at the same time. CT and Adam set themselves up against Wes and Kenny, which I thought was interesting. Again, the digging was one thing with CT and Adam killing it. Then they actually grab onto the zip line and make it all the way to the end. It was pretty epic considering I had just previously told my wife “I don’t think anyone but highly trained ninjas could do that.” I guess CT finally went to ninja school. CT and Adam won the cash, which was pretty obvious. They’re looking like a damn hard team to beat. For the women, Cara Maria and Laurel lost because they were the only ones to get DQed. The two top teams wound up being Camila and Theresa as well as Ev and Paula. Once again, Ev and Paula took home the victory. Back at the house, Mike comes back and Paula’s really happy. I think she said she was going to sleep with him, but I can’t say that for sure as I was in and out of the room a tiny bit.
We’re also shown something I don’t believe we’ve seen in so far in the series: people talking about who they’re going to vote for at the house before they actually go into the room. I wonder how much time they have to do this before they have to vote. At first, the guys–looks like most of them with a few missing–are talking about not sending Theresa and Camila to the Jungle because it would stir the pot with the girls. Camila happens to be walking by and they tell her she’s safe. Awesomely enough, they then cut to Paula and Ev talking and they want to throw Theresa and Camila into the Jungle because it would be sending two strong teams in and only one coming back. And Paula was spearheading this! Someone’s finally playing the game instead of just trying to get someone to punch them! It’s insane! The guys don’t like the idea because they’re dumb.
Cut to the deliberation room. Camila and Theresa throw out Jasmine and Jonna’s names. Cara Maria asks Laurel who she wants to go up against, but Laurel just sits there like a bump on a log. She’s getting weirder and weirder with every Challenge she’s on. It’s looking like Paula’s plan isn’t going to happen and then she just jumps in and tosses Camila and Theresa into the mix. She even says she’s finally playing with her head for once, which is incredibly confusing to everyone in the room, but when the voting starts they all go for it. Once two teams vote for Camila and Theresa it’s all downhill for them from there. Camila’s pretty pissed that the deal she had made is now worthless. So, it’s Theresa and Camila against Cara Maria and Laurel. The game is afoot! But why are there 20 minutes left?
Why? Because a ruse is afoot! Almost immediately, Theresa starts talking about throwing the Jungle. It was weird because she didn’t have a real reason, she kept saying things like “It’ll really piss them off.” Pretty much everyone they talk to says they should harness that anger and use it as fuel or to think about their future on these Challenges. After a particularly frustrating encounter with someone trying to convince Theresa to not throw the Jungle and the other person leaves the room, we discover that it’s all been a plan. They have no intention of throwing. I wish I could say I saw it coming a mile away, but I didn’t. I did note that Camila didn’t seem to be talking about throwing it or trying to talk Theresa out of it, which was strange, but I didn’t call the trick.
The Jungle is called Door Jam and it’s kind of set up like a violent version of Wheel Of Fortune if there were two Vanna Whites on both sides of the wall. Instead of letters, there’s Rivals logos on one side of 48 doors. The point is to wind up with more Rivals logos on your side than the other team. It sounds kind of lame, but wound up being kind of intense and a little violent. Those doors kept smacking the crap out of the girls like whoa. Neither team seems to play the game very smartly (if you’re constantly fighting with someone in one area, move to another area and start spinning like crazy), but it winds up being pretty close with Cara Maria and Laurel walking away with the W. I kind of like Camila, but Theresa has always gotten on my nerves, so no love lost with me and them leaving. I’m guessing Jonna and Jasmine will be next on the chopping block.
The episode ends with Kenny, Wes, Evan and Johnny talking about getting rid of CT. Johnny says the team with the best chance of taking Adam and CT our would be Evan and Nehemiah. Evan agrees to this idea which is funny because Nehemiah’s not present. Their idea is to have Evan throw it and then get everyone else to vote in CT and Adam. Of course, this assume that they’ll get enough people to vote with them (which they have a pretty good shot of) and that CT and Adam won’t lose again. I like seeing someone throwing themselves on the chopping block, but think Evan should have consulted with his partner, you know, the guy who he must depend on to make it back from The Jungle? Oi. Also, I wouldn’t put my money on Evan and Nehemiah to ice CT and Adam, the only team I think can do it is Kenny and Wes, who didn’t jump at the opportunity to throw themselves in. Kenny doesn’t win these things by playing fast and loose. He wins by being sneaky and competing as safely as possible.