Wow, you guys. Just, wow. Tonight’s episode of The Challenge Battle Of The Exes was kind of mindblowing. There was an incident–one that commercials for the episode said was too crazy to show–that actually was so bad that I had to look away from the TV. I was cringing, crawling in my skin. I also found myself siding with someone who I have had a history of completely disliking. For the record, the episode also had a pretty good challenge and some relationship drama both good and bad. You know you want to know what happened, so just hit the jump!The episode kicked off with the gang heading to some party island somewhere and having a generally good time. While there, Ty asks Paula if she wants to take their relationship to the next level. There’s no indication of what that next level is, but Paula’s not down with it. At some point they trade I love yous, which was odd, I thought. That night, back at the house we get a bit of a refresher course in Ty and Emily’s relationship which was crazy when they were on the Washington D.C. cast of Real World. She realizes that he told her he loved her back then and that it didn’t mean anything. He tells her that she is the most important person in his life in the last few years, remember this bit of info in about six paragraphs.
Later, Diem’s talking to Ty about not speaking to CT after the blow-up fight they had last episode. Apparently they haven’t spoken in days. Ty encourages her to go talk to him and to keep things positive, unlike how he came into other seasons when he got all up in everyone’s faces and had freak outs. This reminds me that Ty has actually been pretty cool and calm this season. Anyway, Diem goes and talks to CT and they actually get a lot of the bad stuff out of the way. He apologizes for being so harsh to her during Duel II and she apologizes for not coming out for his brother’s funeral. I’ve got to say, as someone who’s rooting for these two to get back together, this was a fantastic moment. Squashing differences and getting past bad moments is what makes a relationship.
On that good note, we cut to the challenge itself. It’s a marriage-themed one which reminds me of what I was thinking during the honey-scraping one in the very first episode. Back then I thought all of them would involve putting these former couples in all kinds of super-awkward situations that would either make them cringe or pop metaphorical boners for each other. This one was an obstacle course. First, they had to put on a tux (jacket, pants and elastic bow tie) and dress. After that they had to hop over a wall and then dig out a box containing a garter. Once the garter was one, they had to eat two layers of a wedding cake and then grab a veil. With that done, they had to change a van tire on the beach with the last obstacle being the man carrying the woman a ways down the beach to the finish line. Oh, and the last person to finish each obstacle gets knocked out of the race with the first team out going directly into the Dome. By the way, the getting dressed part didn’t count, the garter-dig was the first actual challenge.
Right off the bat, CT and Diem had a little trouble. They were the last ones getting dressed because he couldn’t find the bow tie, but once they did, they hopped over the wall and got to digging. Paula and Dunbar get it first followed by Johnny and Camila and then CT and Diem which left Emily and Ty digging alongside Mark and Robin to see who would be going straight in. Mark and Robin pulled it out in the end and moved on to the cake eating challenge. CT and Diem finished first, but forgot to grab the veil and went right over to the wheel change. They were going for a while and were even joined by Paula and Dunbar when TJ announced their goof and they ran back. Mark and Robin edged out the cake-hating Johnny and Camila. Now we had an interesting race.
With nuts and jacks flying all over the place, the couples had a pretty big challenge on their hands with these tires. I mean, I only like changing tires in the very best of conditions–you know, watching a Triple A guy do it from a coffee shop or something–but this looked like the pits. CT and Diem killed it and worked really well together while doing so and moved on to the bride-carry portion. Mark and Robin’s luck ran out, though, and they were left behind and Dunbar tried lugging Paula past CT and Diem to cross the finish line. No luck, though. It was meant to be for CT and Diem who, depending on the laws of the country they were in, might have actually been married by TJ Lavin after they crossed the line and kissed (yeah, they kiss, you guys!).
Seeing as how the challenge was over, that could only mean one thing: time for the Power Couple to eat a nice dinner and then talk to the other couples! I was really hoping that CT and Diem would throw Johnny and Camila in just to see what would happen. I think Ty and Emily would have a really good possibility of walking away from that with a victory. Anyway, the PC first talk to Robin and Mark, but it’s pretty wonky. Mark does all his usual political talk saying that he wouldn’t want to put Johnny in because they’ve been close this season. CT notes all this and says that they’re on his radar now. Johnny and Camila are up next and Johnny tries to play it smooth too, but CT direct asks him something along the lines of: “If you’re in the finale and win with Emily and Ty coming in third, who would you rather see in second, us or Mark and Robin.” Johnny doens’t answer. It’s awesome to see him squirm. Love it. Finally, they talk to Paula and Dunbar, a meeting that turns out to be a window into their mindsets at the time. Paula immediately suggests throwing Johnny and Camila in with Dunbar following up by saying that he knows that Johnny or Mark would both throw them under the bus to win. Good point. I guess Paula’s not as blind as we all thought, maybe she’s actually learning how to game the system.
Now that that’s out of the way, it’s time to head to a club and have a mock bachelor/bachelorette party. Everyone seems to be having a pretty good time. Paula and Ty go off for a walk and talk about themselves again leaving Dunbar and Emily to look on after them, clearly worried about what this blossoming relationship means for their respective chances of winning the game. And then things got weird. On the way back from the club, Camila starts doing some weird impression of Paula that was neither funny nor accurate. Somehow, Emily and her start talking and decide by the time they get back to the house to dress up like Paula and Ty as a joke. Emily gets one of Ty’s shirts, his hat and a pair of shorts while Camila puts on some pale face make-up, dark eye shadow and stuffs her bra with what looks like whole loaves of table bread. Oh, and Emily covers her face in chocolate. Yeah, that happened.
The pair of chuckleheads then proceed to go into the kitchen/dining room area and put on a little show that gets zero laughs, stunned looks from their audience and sends douche chills up and down my spine. And it keeps going. And going until they finally leave the room resulting in Ty saying he wants to leave. He tells Paula first and then goes into the bathroom where the women are cleaning up after their performance, tells Emily and starts packing. In a rare move that shows absolutely no evidence of game-playing, Johnny actually convinces Ty to stay the night and decide in the morning. He then tells Emily she should let it go and talk to him in the morning, which does eventually go down.
Here’s the thing. Emily says she didn’t know what blackface was until someone explained it to her that night. She was–and I forgot this–essentially raised in a very secluded, cult-like sect until she was about 17. She literally didn’t know it was offensive, she just thought she was making a joke about him. I believe her, but I guess it’s up for each viewer to decide. She talked more about it on the aftershow, which was hosted by former Challenge host Johnny Moseley, and included footage of her explaining the kind of place she grew up to Mark at some point this season. As Mark said during the actual show, when does ignorance stop being an excuse?
The next morning, things are quiet. CT talks to Ty, trying to convince him to stick around, saying that just until recently he almost let the whole season go to hell because of a dumb argument with Diem. Ty goes outside and talks to Emily who is clearly upset. She apologizes to him and he explains that it wasn’t so much a racist thing that bothered him, but why she did it. He basically felt like, this whole season where he’s actually been a pretty good guy, that he could rely on her until this moment when she betrayed him emotionally.
So, with things squashed between them for the moment, focus shifts over to Diem and CT who still haven’t figured out who they’re throwing in. CT wants to toss Camila and Johnny, but Diem wants to send Paula and Dunbar. CT reminds her that Dunbar said if they don’t get thrown in this time and he and Paula win the next one, they’re safe. Diem said she doesn’t believe any of that. In a real reality contest judging scene moment there’s a quick back and forth conversation with valid points made on both sides (though I agree with CT) edited together and then ending with a “We have our decision” scene. Cut into the decision room where we got a lot of talk from the Power Couple about how hard this decision was and that the game needs to be played and there’s no scrub teams, blah blah, bl–To Be Continued. I knew it was coming because I write notes on my laptop while watching and kept my eyes on the clock.
Boom. So, yeah, Emily did something really stupid, but I don’t think it came from a place of hate for whatever that’s worth. Ty proved himself to be an actual good person who doesn’t always resort to rage and violence when he gets angry. Oh and Johnny and Camila didn’t win the Power Couple spot! Boom.