The Challenge Rivals Episode 9 “The Storm Before The Storm”

Wow. One really big unexpected thing happened on this (presumably) penultimate episode of The Challenge Rivals and then a bunch of other stuff that played out pretty much how you would expect it. However, that one unexpected thing did get my pulse racing and me shouting at my TV (what do you expect, it’s been months since I watched football?). It was pretty intense. The episode included the continuation of the confrontation between CT and Johnny from the previous episode, the final Jungle between Johnny and Tyler and CT and Adam, another change of locale, some more housemate drama and the beginning of the finale! Hit the jump to see how it all went down. As I said above, the episode starts right off with CT standing up for Adam at the bar against Johnny and Kenny who were trying to psych Adam out. The big worry last episode was that CT was going to punch one of these guys and get sent home early. Thankfully, that didn’t happen. Instead of fighting, CT wound up pulling Adam aside and telling him he’ll always be there to pick him up when he falls. Yeah, that happened. The next morning Laurel brings CT a plate of fruit, as it’s the day of the Jungle. I thought it was interesting that both CT and Adam have ladies back at the house they want to head back to (Laurel and Jenn respectively) while Johnny and Tyler don’t. Would that come into play? Just as I was thinking that, Jenn popped on the screen and told us all that she likes Adam, but wants Johnny and Tyler to win because it’s part of her alliance. Really? Who cares about alliances now. It’s not like one of these goobers is going to lean down and pick you up, wasting precious seconds, in the finale. Alliances end once the finale begins, if not sooner. Also? Jenn’s gross.Finally we get to the Jungle, which is a game we’ve been teased about ever since the very first teaser came out. It’s called T-Bone, but it’s the one where it looked like someone in football type pads completely annihilated another player. Turns out the game itself is pretty confusing. Each player starts off on one end of what looked like an Iron Cross buried into the ground at a downward angle with each end starting on ground level and going down. Each person had five balls of a unique color and started off directly opposite their partner. The idea was for you to grab one of your balls, run to the other side and put your ball in your partner’s holder and then run back to your side, get another ball and repeat. If you happened to meet in the middle, hitting was allowed. You’re not supposed to touch your partner’s balls.

This is where things got confusing as both Tyler and Adam screwed up and grabbed their partner’s ball when they made it to the ball holder. Tyler corrected while Adam took a few times to stop screwing up. In an effort to buy himself some time, CT goes down and smashes into both Johnny and Tyler so hard it looked like they were both made of paper. And dead. Seriously. It looked insane, though it was really the only hit of note in the whole game. Johnny and CT both got all their balls into place which left Tyler and Adam with one each. They looked to be going at exactly the same pace. My pulse quickened. “Hurry up Adam!” I yelled at my TV. Hearing me, CT went down and knocked into Tyler, then picked Adam up by his waste band, dragging him up the hill to the ball holder. On the opposite side, Tyler still seems to be suffering from that monster hit CT put on him. He’s scrambling and dropping the ball. I screamed a few more things and then…Tyler got the ball in first. Everyone but Laurel and Cara Maria jumped in to congratulate Tyler, specifically Jenn who was literally on top of the guy who’s not her Challenge Boyfriend. Meanwhile Adam was sulking, but CT kept trying to boost his spirits. Adam says he forgives him and they walk off into the sunset. This bummed me out to no end because they were the team I was rooting for. Adam was playing to win for the first time. CT was working on redemption and let’s not forget that the other teams are mostly full of assholes. Wes has gone down in my esteem this year for his inane dislike of Cara Maria. Kenny’s Kenny, Johnny’s Johnny. Tyler seems to be douchier than usual. I still have a problem with Mike from Vegas. I like Leroy, so I guess I’m rooting for them to win, but I don’t have high hopes. With the ladies, I think this one is Cara Maria and Laurel’s to loose. I have zero faith in Paula’s ability to finish, though they have been making a lot of comments about never winning any money. Maybe if Ev picks her up and drags her ass around. Back at the house, Laurel’s all bummed out because her dude got sent home. Cara Maria comes in to comfort her and shows off her creepy Abram pillow-man. I wish she hadn’t done that. After that they get the news that they’re traveling to Patagonia for the finale. I guess that’s on the same continent. Of course, they all get really psyched about this trip that will cut into their prep/rest time for the finale. No one ever said this game was populated by MENSA members. Once in their new awesome place to live for a few days, the Wes/Cara Maria nonsense starts back up. First, former Fresh Meat II rookies Laurel, Mandi and Cara Maria are talking about CM’s problems with Wes, with Laurel telling her she needs to confront him. They both give CM trouble for not wanting to be around someone who’s kind of an asshole. Really? Isn’t that what all normal people do all the time? I do it. Maybe I’m crazy. That’s okay. Anyway, for some reason, Wes starts talking to everyone downstairs about how immature and fake Cara Maria is. She comes down and confronts him about it, to which he asks if she wants to have a constructive discussion or if she wants him to make her cry. Really, Wes? Talking bullshit about someone is constructive? His attempts to make her cry involved him saying that no one in the house likes her. She shut that down with a quickness asking why HE didn’t like her. He said the same bullshit about her being fake and immature (“You’re not deep enough for me.”), which she brushed off. Oh Wes, why did you have to turn into such a bag of butts this season?The next morning, which is the morning of the finale, both Tyler and Jenn have been sick all morning. The doctor comes and checks them out, telling them they have a gastrointestinal virus. He actually gives Jenn the okay to compete, but advises Tyler not to. There’s a whole bit of drama where you’re not sure if he’s going to compete or not, but he of course decides to go against doctor’s orders and compete. I wonder what would have happened if either of them couldn’t compete this late in in the game. Would the previously removed team take their place? Would only that person get removed/replaced? Ah well, it didn’t happen, so we’ll never know. Before things kick off (I actually thought all of the finale would be pushed to the next ep, but that’s not the case) TJ reminds everyone that the first team to finish for each sex wins $100,000, second place gets $50,000 and the third gets zip. He then explains the first leg of the race which is all water. 200 yards away from them on the beach each team has a kayak waiting for them. But they’re not just swimming to get there, they’re being pulled underwater on a ski line by a boat. The longer they can hold on the less they have to swim. Once they’re in the kayak, they have to paddle for three miles to another beach where they change into running clothes and are on to a foot race with checkpoints and puzzles. The ladies went first with Cara Maria letting go first, Paula and Ev dropping at about the same time and Laurel holding on the longest. It looked like they all got to the boats at about the same time. As Paula and Ev and Cara Maria and Laurel take off, Jenn and Mandi get left behind in their dust. These girls can not get coordinated with the rowing whatsoever and spend a good deal of their camera time going in circles before finally getting the hang of it. Paula and Ev take a lead, but Laurel and CM are pretty close behind, even when the former get to the second beach first, the latter team winds up changing clothes right next to them. Jenn an Mandi eventually get there, but there’s no way to tell how behind they are at this point, I’m guessing WAY though.

With the guys, Leroy lets go first, followed by Mike, Kenny and Tyler. It looks like they all get to the boats around the same time. Mike and Leroy have trouble rowing while the other two teams take off. They then show Wes and Kenny having their own set of problems and then some helpful on-screen text informs us that they’re actually driving their boat with the back end in front. The end. For now. As if the “How the hell did THEY make it to the finale” team of Jenn and Mandi weren’t already guaranteed to come in last from the get-go, Jenn’s illness will not make matters any better. I bet she gets taken out on a stretcher. I had forgotten this, but Mandi got saddled with Wes during the finale of Fresh Meat II when he completely quit on her. It would SUCK if that happened to her again. I mean, she’s not a good cometitor, she coasted to the end and she has terrible choices in dudes, but she’s still not as offensive as some of the other people on this show. My money would be on Laurel and CM if I were silly enough to bet on such things. For the guys, I really don’t know. They show some clips of next week’s episode where it looks like Wes might be quitting again. How does he have such a huge mouth if he keeps failing at these things? Mike’s brains will probably help out in the puzzles, but I think Tyler might also be a puzzle dude, which will help if he can keep his insides on the inside during the finale.

At this point, I’m only really rooting for Laurel, Cara Maria and Leroy. I think the one team actually has a chance while the other will have to come across some insanely lucky breaks to pull through with the V. I guess we’ll see next week!

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