Tonight’s episode of The Challenge Battle Of The Exes wasn’t entirely exciting. There was some drama that took center stage, but the challenge itself seemed pretty even, no one really got hurt and the Dome was a repeat for reasons that will make sense when we get there. On the plus side, only one team got sent home instead of two like last episode. For those keeping score there have been four episodes of this season so far (including this one) and 10 people have been sent home. With that in mind, check out the full post after the jump. The episode kicked off with a beach day which gave everyone time to talk about each other and their teammates. Johnny and Camila said they worked really well together and get along, while CT wishes that Diem would stop bringing their past into the challenges with them. That night, the girls get bored and decide to paint their faces like different animals, some of the guys join in and a party ensues. There’s a weird moment with Robin who comes out with vampire make-up, which brings up the topic of her social awkwardness which is a theme for the rest of the episode. There’s some more fighting between Tyrie and Jasmine and the next morning talk between Diem and CT getting on the same page, but not a lot else.
Which brings us to the challenge, Rolling In The Deep. Both teammates have to hold on to a big log that’s–you guessed it–suspended over water. The idea is to hold on to the log, nicely drop into the water and swim over to a bell. When both players are there, the time is set. I expected the log to roll or spin immediately, but it actually stayed stable for a dozen yards or so at which point some ropes made it automatically spin. The jolt made a lot of people fall off pretty early, but all in all it seemed like this one was fairly close all around, though it was impossible to tell since they didn’t show times for everyone, which, now that I think about it, makes me think that maybe they weren’t so close.
Anyway, since Paula and Dunbar were the Power Couple last episode, they got to choose the order and they set Jasmine and Tyrie up first. This proved out to be the most dramatic of the group because Jasmine fell first and started swimming DIRECTLY UNDER TYRIE. So, when he fell not long after, he came crashing down on top of her. She got her head back pretty quickly and the pair swam to the bell in what seemed like a not bad time. She said her head hurt afterwards, but we didn’t see her going to the hospital or anything, though, honestly, how could you tell if Jasmine was acting oddly? Curtseying? Only dropping F bombs every FEW sentences?
Aneesa & Rachel are up next and it starts raining just as they’re about to start. Both fall very soon after the log starts spinning. Emily and Ty go after them and it’s the same thing with Ty losing grip first followed quickly by Emily. The same goes for Cara Maria and Abe with her falling first. CT wants to start the log spinning before the rope initiates it. I think he thinks it will be less of a jolt that way, which makes sense, but Diem doesn’t want to go that way. As it is, they make it pretty far down on the log and have no problem with the swim. Mark also has a strategy for Robin, he wants to fall right as the rope starts the spinning process because he doesn’t want to deal with a dizzy AND swimming partner. She’s a slow ass swimmer. Paula and Dunbar are the only pair that didn’t fall at similar places, she dropped right after the pull, but he stayed on longer. She’s fast enough swimmer, that she was pretty caught up by the time he did fall. Finally, Johnny and Camila went and even though she’s really short and had trouble getting her arms and legs around the log, both Camila and Johnny hung on for a good amount of time and wound up swimming at close to the same speed.
The longest two times wound up being Mark and Robin and Jasmine and Tyrie. TJ said they were only separated by one measly second, but that Tyrie and Jasmine wound up doing the worst. The best two teems happened to be Johnny and Camila and Ty and Emily. Emily really wanted to win so she could send Paula and Dunbar in for sending them in last round. Normally I’d say that this is vindictive and poor planning, but Paula and Dunbar have proven to be surprisingly good together at the game and might actually be a pretty big threat when you get down to it (shocked as I am to write such a thing). However, it doesn’t really matter because Johnny and Camila once again hang on forever and wind up becoming the Power Couple.
In a blessed departure from the norm established in the first, second and third episodes, Johnny and Camila did not sit down with two different couples that they were thinking about throwing into the Dome. Instead, Johnny talked to Mark in the pool. He mentions tossing him and Robin in, but also tells Mark he’s got beef with Rachel because, in The Island, she voted to send Johnny home even though Abe specifically asked to be sent home to take care of some problems. I had completely forgotten about all that and the fact that Mark and Rachel were partnered up and won third place in The Duel II. Johnny talking about Rachel made Mark uncomfortable so Mark went to talk to her, suggesting she go and talk to Johnny. Instead, what supposedly happened according to Camila–though I think it’s interesting that there’s either no footage of this or the producers decided not to show it–is that Rachel and Aneesa went to Camila and suggested throwing Robin in because she’s unbalanced or whatever. Camila told Johnny this who relayed it to Mark who got understandably angry.
Instead of jumping right to the decision meeting, the gang all heads to a club. You know, if I may interject a bit here, I kind of prefer when they’re kept cloistered as in The Island. I get that part of the drama of this particular season revolves around whether various couples will get back together or new ones will form, but that kind of isolation-induced insanity makes for some pretty great TV, especially when they’re supplied with a steady flow of hooch. There’s more talk about CT and Diem possibly getting back together followed by Paula saying she likes how Ty looks, but has a boyfriend and won’t be doing anything. Rachel tries to smooth things over with Johnny but he’s too high up on his high horse to hear her and winds up chastising her for playing the game dirty. How this dude can say things like this and not bust out laughing is shocking. Maybe he should go into acting.
The next day, TJ shows up at the house and asks who the Power Couple has chosen. Johnny–still riding high on the horse–goes on a very impassioned speech about how he has a problem with one player on this team for being shady and blah blah blah, of course, it’s Rachel and Aneesa. Then Rachel starts defending herself and it’s all lame. Like Cara Maria said, once you’re picked, just suck it up and go in, you’re not going to get him to unpick you. That night, Robin starts crying, saying how she doesn’t like all the politics and game playing, but Paula actually jumps in with some wise words (whoda thunk it?) saying that it’s not a competition, it’s a physical, mental and emotional challenge. And yes, in case you were wondering, Robin has a kid. Being a parent myself, I can’t imagine how having that little person back home relying on you not only emotionally and financially but also relying on you not to make a complete joke of yourself on a TV show would change how you play the game.
The next day, we finally get to the Dome which is actually X Knocks The Spot Again. I was bummed that it was a repeat so soon in the proceedings, but it actually makes a lot of sense because this one doesn’t involve any one-on-one physical tasks. I mean, is Tyrie supposed to roll in the dirt trying to rip an X out of Aneesa’s hands? If you forget, this is one where they’re all standing on stumps and there’s rotating arms swinging around that they have to jump over or duck under. Jasmine sucks at this and is immediately tripping and getting knocked in the head, but it’s actually Aneesa who winds up falling first at around the 17 minute mark. A few minutes later, in a surprise, Tyrie gets his legs swept out from under him and smashes into the stump, but isn’t too badly hurt. Then it’s between the ultra clumsy Jasmine and Rachel. It’s not really a contest is it? Rachel’s no Emily, but she’s pretty strong, so she winds up taking home the victory and sending one of the more dysfunctional teams home. No love lost there. The episode ends with Aneesa and Rachel talking about how they’re on their own, but that they kind of like it and want to change how things run in the house, or something. Did you guys see the trailer for the next episode? It looks pretty insane with Camila flying off the handle on some people and Cara Maria asking Abe if he wants to live with her.
I’ve got to say, I’m pretty surprised at how little the politics have come into play for the most part. Sure there’s grudges held for years being brought to the surface (how anyone can remember anything from four years ago is beyond me though), but it’s not like mass alliances are under way. It seems as though the winning teams are doing a semblance of due diligence talking to teams before sending them into the Dome. It actually seems like the most powerful teams are winning and that’s a good thing. I’d still like to see some kind of shake up in the system, like Aneesa and Rachel propose, but I don’t see them pulling it off unless they ally themselves with someone else and start making things happen.