The Challenge Battle Of The Exes Episode 6 “Tainted Love”

Oh, The Challenge Battle of the Exes, you keep toying with my emotions! Not only did this episode include a great deal of tense challenges, but it also put me on a rollercoaster when it came to relationships as one blossomed (not the right term for it, but we’ll get there) and another ran off the rails. There was also, as always, the possibility of a team or two overthrowing the status quo, but does it happen? You’ll have to read on to see. As we’ve come to expected from these things, the episode starts off with the morning of the challenge and people talking! After the previous episode, the conversations are all pretty much what you’d think: Johnny and Camila telling each other they need to control themselves, Aneesa and Rachel plotting to win and throw Johnny and Camila in to overthrow the order of things and Emily and Ty wanting to win and, if possible, take revenge on some of their enemies. The usual.

From there, we directly hop to the challenge which is cleverly called Lube Me Up. The idea is to slide down a lubed up incline (like a Slip and Slide) into a small pool at the end. The pool has one less balls than people. The idea is to get back up the incline using ropes with the ball in a series of heats. The person who doesn’t come up with a ball in the very first round (there are successive rounds until only one team remains) automatically gets sent into the Dome with their partner. In following rounds, if you’re last, you’re partner gets tossed from his or her next round, but obviously, you’re not getting sent into the Dome. Since it comes down to two teams anyway, it’s just between those two the one time unlike previous challenges where the top two teams have to go again. Oh, also, the Power Couple gets to immunity, to choose who else goes in AND gets some cash this time.

I’ve got to say, this is one of the better challenges I’ve seen on The Challenge in a while because there’s no reason any person would be better than any other people at such a strange thing, it allows for some strategy (do you rush down and up as fast as possible or just wait for someone to bring the ball most of the way to you?) and it left the contestants open to some pretty nail biting throwdowns at the end of each round. The first one was a women’s heat which included both Aneesa and Rachel. This time around, they worked both together and against Camila. Meanwhile, Robin slowly makes her way up and is the first one to cross the line. She’s followed by Camila, Diem, Rachel and Aneesa which leaves Emily just staring at Paula who has a ball. This actually became a lot more close than you’d expect, with the two of them fighting the whole way to the top and the ball bouncing between the two, but Emily wound up pulling it out at the end and knocked Paula and Dunbar into the Dome automatically.

For the first men’s round, Johnny dominated, running up the hill like he does this all day long. He absolutely has an in with the challenge-creators and makes his own courses in his backyard, there’s no other way to explain the ludicrous skills he now has. CT follows him up the hill leaving Mark and Ty to battle over the last ball. Once again, this is a really close fight up the incline with Mark just barely sneaking away with the win.

The women go again, this time it’s Aneesa, Rachel, Diem, Camila and Robin. Much to Annesa’s chagrin, Rachel grabs a ball and just runs up the hill. Apparently they had a plan and this wasn’t it. Thrown off her game, Aneesa watches as Camila follows her partner up to the finish line. This leaves Robin, Diem and herself all going for two balls. Robin tried to take Diem’s ball, but failed, letting Diem cross the line and leaving it between herself and Aneesa. This one was less thrilling and Robin wound up snaking the ball from Aneesa, thus eliminating both her and Rachel from the contest.

The last men’s round came down to Mark, CT and Johnny. Once again, Johnny ran up this thing like a cat on drapes. He made some comment about him walking on water, but I think it’s more telling that the dude is perfectly adept at running on lubed up tarps. Interesting skill set. Anyway, Mark got something in his eyes when he landed in the pool at the bottom of the hill and couldn’t keep track of where CT was leaving the finale heat between Camila and Diem which was a real scorcher. I know that sounds ridiculous, but when you get into these episodes like I do, these contests are up there with the closest football games (but, you know, with lube-covered girls fighting over a ball instead of padded up dudes). This one literally came down to the wire as the ball slid back and forth from Camila to Diem and back again. At the very, very, very end, the ball slid out and…Camila jumped on it! I’m never happy to see anything good happen to Johnny or his bi-polar teammate, but this was a pretty epic battle.

Back at the house, Johnny and Camila hold their usual meetings with the teams they’re thinking of throwing into the Dome which happened to be Aneesa and Rachel who look like they’re rather be getting root canals than talking to them and Ty and Emily who don’t seem too keen on making the “If we don’t throw you in this time, you will never throw us in” deal Johnny proposes. Meanwhile, Paula’s freaking out, as if going up against Emily will mean she actually gets murdered and left in the sand for birds to deal with her carcass instead of some kind of silly game she’s already seen by this point. Dunbar tries to find out what Johnny’s going to do, but Johnny’s all stressed out and tells the camera that there’s no real benefit to being the Power Couple because you’re painting a big bullseye on your back if that team comes back. Deal with it slick. You talk such shit, back it up.

Instead of staying in and getting their minds right, the whole gang heads out to the club! And you know what happens? More inexplicable Ty and Paula flirting. Is it still flirting if you start making out and mount someone on a couch? I’m not hip to what the kids are doing these days. This leads CT to foolishly say to Diem (who he seemed to be having a good time with ) that he told Ty that seeing him and Paula together reminded CT of his early days with Diem. As you’d expect, this did not sit well with Diem who immediately took offense and started a fight which continued on to the bus and got pretty harsh on both their parts. The worst part is that, to CT, it was a compliment to all of them, but to Diem and most everyone else, it was not. How can two idiots (one of whom has a boyfriend) hooking up on television be the same as…oh yeah.

Anyway, after they split off and each yelled or cried at someone, Ty and Paula hooked up. With Emily (his ex) and Aneesa in the room. Emily very simply pointed out how it was weird to be in the same room as all this and I can’t say I disagree with her. Maybe sleeping in the living room that night or one of the other vacated beds would have been a wise choice. The next morning the usual ribbing is had. Oh these kids. Wait, how old is Paula?

We move along to TJ coming to the house and asking who will be joining Paula and Dunbar in the Dome. Johnny goes on with so many platitudes that you half expect to see a PA telling him how many seconds he needs to fill before commercial and then, after the commercial, he says that Aneesa and Rachel are going in. The two make peach with one another and dedicate themselves to coming back and bringing down the evil empire that is Johnny and Camila. YEAH! Do it ladies!

The Dome challenge is, once again, Banded Together which is the one where you’re tied to rubber bands connected to your partners and you have to crawl through the sand to get to a pole. Once both of you grab onto the pole you have to hold on for five seconds to win. This actually seemed like a pretty good challenge for Aneesa and Rachel because their weight is much closer than Dunbar and Paula’s. The two teams used different strategies to start off with. Aneesa and Rachel went at the same pace for a while. Meanwhile, Dunbar stayed pretty close to the beginning while Paula went forward. She was neck in neck with the other women for a pretty good amount of time. Then, Aneesa stayed put and let Rachel go ahead. It looked like Rachel was going to get there first, but as they got closer, the tension grew on the bands and both slowed down like crazy. It was so close, but then Paula grabbed on to the pole and it was pretty much all over. Rachel never got there and Dunbar took off like a shot once Paula got the pole. He hit some snags and definitely slowed down, but still wound up grabbing hold before Rachel even touched the pole.

I’m sad to see Aneesa and Rachel go because, not only are they good competitors, but also because they weren’t afraid to give Johnny some shit, which I appreciate. They also seemed to have some power and smarts to do it and actually make something of it, but with them, Wes and Abe all gone, I’m not really sure anyone cares about shifting things around anymore. CT’s still there, but everyone’s so afraid of getting him angry still that they’ll let him skate right into the finale and take their money from them. I’m definitely curious to see how things shake out from here. The other team that seemed intent on messing with Johnny and Camila was Ty and Emily, but now that Ty’s sleeping with the enemy, who knows what will happen. Is Johnny going to talk to his old pal Paula and get her to convince Ty not to send Johnny in? Will Emily allow that nonsense? It’s bad enough that she can’t take revenge on Dunbar and Paula for throwing them in. It looks like the next episode has a prank gone too far regarding Ty and Paula which leads him to threaten to leave, so we’ll see how that goes. And, of course, the real question aside from all this money nonsense is whether CT and Diem will get back together. I think they’re both still hot for each other, but I’m not sure if they’ll be able to mend their fences in this particular place. Maybe by the reunion, though!

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