Tonight’s episode of The Challenge Battle Of The Exes came chock full of padding. If you’re a fan of beautiful glacial settings and drunken conversations about how well the partners get along, then this episode will be perfect for you. If you’re more a fan of actual competition and drama, you can skip most of the middle of this episode. But, either way, you should hit the jump and read the post!As you’ll remember from the end of last episode, Power Couple Diem and CT decided to throw Mark and Robin into The Dome against Johnny and Camila. Instead of getting right to what has been hyped as one of the most intense Dome finals of all time, one between a pair of friends and supposedly Mark’s final appearance on a Challenge, we get the obligatory club scene. As you’d expect CT, Diem, Emily and Ty all have a great time while Mark and Johnny look worried. The next morning the always pleasant Robin is down in the dumps as you would expect, but CT, Emily and Ty are all trying to get her charged up. It works to some extent…I guess. I used to have a huge crush on Robin back in her Real World: San Diego days, but seeing her constantly break down is no fun. Producers, please, don’t have her back.
Anyway, The Dome is X Battle, the one we’ve seen a few times already where two contestants fight in the dirt over a metal X. This was touted as being a really big deal, especially on the aftershow last week. In reality? Not so great. The women went up first and while Robin tried, she didn’t seem to have much strategy. As I’ve said before, the key to this is to either get between the X and the other person or to get them on the ground with you standing over them and yank it out of their hands. Robin didn’t do either of these. And, actually, Camila wasn’t exactly a strategic mastermind, but she did a better job and wound up with the X twice in a row.
Now it was all up to Mark. On the first round, Johnny gets himself between Mark and the X with Mark hanging on for dear life. Johnny gets much better leverage and yanks it away. Between this and the next round, Mark realizes he has a tiny spot of blood on shirt that TJ points out is from some sand burn on his chin. How does Mark respond? “You do not draw blood on me or I will kill you…seriously,” he told the camera. And he killed it on that round eventually doing the second method I suggested above like a gladiator standing over a petulant child. It was all tied up. Unfortunately–well, depending on who you’re rooting for, I guess, but who roots for Johnny?–the third round was very similar to the first and Camila and Johnny wound up with the victory.
Oh, I forgot to mention that before going into battle, Mark put on a bandana like he used to wear in his Road Rules and old school Challenge days. He passed it off to someone on one of the previous Challenge reunion shows, but I can’t quite remember who. Anyway, he didn’t pass it off this time, but did say this was his last one. I’m not quite sure if I believe it, dude’s only 40 and I doubt he’s going to start slouching when it comes to keeping in shape. I hope he comes back. Hell, I hope they build an entire new Challenge around him, kind of like Fresh Meat, but with older players competing against younger. Hell, give the older folks some extra training time even to make it even. That’d be great! What’s Puck doing these days?
Alright, after a sad departure from Mark, TJ warned the gang to get some rest. They got a text later saying they were leaving for Iceland at 8AM the next day. Much like last season, they were super duper excited about this which boggles the mind. Why would you want to be sent to a place with glaciers when you know you’re about to attack one of your greatest physical challenges? Ah well, it made for some good B roll, I guess.
Once they got to Iceland, TJ told them they have 24 hours before the finale. They first head to the Hilton where they fawn over the super warm clothes waiting for them and then head out to a bar where they do crazy green shots that looked tasty. Back at the hotel, everyone gushes over how great everyone is.
The next day it’s -6 degrees Fahrenheit when they meet TJ and have the whole thing explained to them. There will be seven stations. Completion of each station gets you an artifact and you need all the artifacts to win the game. By the way, the first place winner gets $150K, second gets $100K and last gets $40K, but TJ made it known that you have to actually cross the finish line to get the money.
The first station is a dog sled race which is pretty close, but CT and Diem wind up winning with Johnny and Camila a few seconds behind and Ty and Emily a few more than a few seconds behind them. They then have to trudge for a while in the cold and it gets dark, like wicked dark. Once they reach TJ he tells them what they need to do to get their next artifact: jump into frigid water, wade out to a buoy, touch it and get back to the heated van where medics are waiting with warming blankets. They’re told they have about 30 seconds because otherwise they’ll get hypothermia and possibly die. The amount of time it takes them to do this gets added to the amount of time it took for the dog sled race. Whoever has the lowest time gets the best sleeping arrangements…on the glacier. CT and Diem do it in 19 seconds, Johnny and Camila in 17 and Ty and Emily in 14, but it turns out that the rankings remained consistent from the dog sled race.
They’re then taken to the camp site which is literally three tents with a camp fire in the middle of nothing. CT and Diem’s tent is tricked out with heaters, deer skin blankets and nice mattresses. Johnny and Camila’s is less nice and TJ says that Emily and Ty have been given what they need to survive. Man, that’s crazy.
Like I said, this one had a lot of padding and things probably could have been edited down, but I have a feeling the next episode is going to be pretty intense. The episode ended with more relationship talk, but I wasn’t really paying attention. Johnny pointed out earlier in the episode that the three teams in the finale all wound up getting along the best with their partner. That does seem to be the case. And, to be honest, knowing that everything’s good between CT and Diem is nice, but that storyline seemed to climax already. Winning would be a great cherry on the sundae, but the worry about it happening kind of kept the season going in a lot of ways. Ah well, I’m still looking forward to seeing what happens next week.