Get your umbrella – everyone’s crying on this week’s episode of The Challenge.
While the cast waits for Cara Maria to return from the hospital, with Laurel guessing that the diagnosis will be a sprain, Johnny from Portland, Zach and CT sympathize with Cara Maria. Cara has won 3 eliminations and obviously wants to compete for the final over competitors like Nany and Devyn, who haven’t been in any eliminations yet.
Laurel, however, lacks sympathy. No matter how MTV edited their discussion in last week’s episode, the guys are clearly on Cara Maria’s side, wanting robot Laurel to feel human emotion. At this point, it seems that Laurel is so over confident (the downfall of her counterpart, Jordan) that she can’t relate to the idea of someone wanting to be in the game, as opposed to feeling like they deserve it.
Cara Maria returns to the hospital, trying to conceal the giant cast on her hand because she has a fracture. She’s a mess, crying to Theresa, fearing she’ll be sent home by host T.J. a la Frank earlier in the season.
Laurel seemingly refuses to understand that putting someone down is hurtful (as is rooting against them in an elimination), but she sits down with Cara Maria anyway and makes a half-assed attempt at reconciliation. Cara Maria shuts Laurel down for not apologizing. It’s not quite a fight, more of a disagreement. Laurel cries in an interview, perhaps realizing that it is nice to have a friend.
But let’s get down to business, people! Challenge time. T.J. drops a “you’ve been killing it” on Cara Maria before saying that the Challenge doctors care about pneumonia, but don’t care about a fracture (as long as she’ll take full responsibility – legal liability, MTV, way to get that in there). Cara Maria is still in… for now.
For the challenge, the cast is split into teams of two, one guy and one girl per team to play Crossover. Finally, there’s cross-gender political and strategical factors here. Thank you, MTV, by episode 10, you’ve added a dynamic that maybe should have been there the whole time.
The teams have to cross shallow water, dig up a chest with puzzle pieces, bring them back across, go back across the water, dig up another chest (so that each partner has to dig once) and come back and solve the puzzle.
Team Captains: Theresa, Bananas, Cara Maria, Johnny from Portland and Laurel.
Theresa picks Zach. Bananas picks Nany. Cara Maria picks CT. Johnny from Portland gets Devyn. Laurel gets Leroy.
CT is pleased to be working with Cara Maria, saying that even with one hand, he’d rather work with her than anyone else. CT is getting sweet on us!
Theresa and Zach have the lead, Nany and Bananas are in 2nd place and the other three teams are still digging.
Laurel is shown at one point dragging Leroy across the lagoon. Oof, Leroy.
Theresa and Zach get to the puzzle assembly phase first, but have difficulty getting it done. Nany and Bananas show up second and get the puzzle done faster than either of them would have thought. Win for Bananas and Nany. Even more points for Nany! She’s having an amazing fantasy season.
Team Zach and Theresa and Team CT and Cara Maria take 2nd and 3rd place, making the other teams reserved for the draw and them reserved for the voting process. At this point in the game, I do not understand why the winning team wouldn’t get the entire pool of non-winners to choose from with anyone they don’t choose going to the draw. But I guess MTV wants to play up the power of keeping people safe, which will happen in their format.
Johnny from Portland and Theresa talk about how crazy it is that Nany is safe, while Theresa and Cara Maria are not. Such is the game!
At dinner, Cara Maria feels like Theresa is kissing Nany’s ass by having a good time. Cara Maria is clearly frustrated that her hand is busted. A lot of caddy crap is said about Theresa by Cara Maria. This episode has too much womanly whining.
The next morning, Leroy and CT are talking about if they think the elimination will be the Wall or the Tug of War. It’s getting so close to the final that everyone is a bit stressed, wanting to make the money.
Laurel cries again because she “is not a monster” – thanks for clarifying!
Nany and Bananas deliberate. Nany has no idea what to do because she likes both Cara Maria and Theresa. Because Nany thinks Cara Maria is the strongest female competitor, Bananas pushes for them to vote Cara Maria in. Though Nany feels bad that Cara Maria is injured, Bananas thinks that if Cara Maria can play through the pain, then make her play through the pain.
For the guys, Zach at CT are the choices. Bananas and Nany are confident that either will beat Johnny from Portland or Leroy. Bananas actually thinks Zach is stronger than CT. By his own logic that he used for wanting to put Cara Maria in, he should then want to put Zach in, to at least let there be a chance that the better player gets knocked out.
Bananas and Nany proceed to have the most awkward sitdown with CT. Not a politician, CT doesn’t play any games. He hasn’t voted for Bananas and that’s all he will say. Nany is scared.
At voting, Cara Maria is crying before anything even starts. 5 more points for her. Nany and Bananas vote CT. Bananas votes for Cara Maria because she’s voted for him. Nany does not comply and votes Theresa. Finally, a tie!
Nany accurately assesses that she followed Bananas on the guy vote, he should follow her on the girl vote. But when asked again, they don’t change their votes. Then T.J. drops the bomb: if Nany and Bananas can’t come to a decision, Nany and Bananas will go into the elimination, leaving CT, Theresa and Cara Maria safe.
T.J. asks again, starting with Nany. I’m guessing Nany doesn’t play poker, because she doesn’t under the power of position. Since Nany is being asked first, if Nany says Theresa, Bananas would have to be on a Jordan-style suicide mission not to follow. But Nany is not great in pressure situations, or possibly overestimates Bananas’ masculinity (if she thinks he’d be fine to go in against Leroy or Johnny from Portland… easier matches than her against Devyn or Laurel), and she caves. Nany votes Cara Maria and Bananas obviously says the same because everything is working out perfectly for him.
Cara Maria is pissed, Nany blew the spot. Standing up next to CT, who is egging her on, Cara Maria and Theresa yell at each other about lobbying for votes. This is a scene we saw weeks ago because MTV was terrible with spoilers in previews this season, so we knew it was gunna go down the exact way it did.
Theresa cries to Devyn about how mean Cara Maria was being all pissed off and saying crap to her. So much crying. It’s infuriating.
At the elimination, the wall is out. This is not good for Cara Maria. With a dud hand, Cara Maria will need sharp elbows and a great grip on her good hand to stand a chance.
Leroy flips the kill card. Johnny from Portland thanks his lucky Irish stars. Devyn flips a blank, leaving the kill card for Laurel.
CT vs. Leroy and Cara Maria vs. Laurel for the final elimination before leaving Uruguay. This scenario is too good for this episode and we’re left with a To Be Continued cliffhanger.
It’s the perfect cliffhanger before a two-part final to make a twelve-episode season. It’s like MTV has done this 24 other times before. Very well orchestrated. Too bad they don’t know how to manage previews and we knew Cara Maria was going to be voted in at the beginning of this cry-fest episode.
Scoring for Episode 10 is shown below:
Because WordPress hates me and doesn’t always let me put in excel, a link to the excel file is here: Free Agents Scores – Ep10
Best player performance of the episode: Cara Maria (25 points), Nany (25 points) and Bananas (25 points).