SEASON 26 EP 11 (328th episode in the series)
THERESA 2: ELECTRIC BOOGALOO!!!
But before we get to that, a bit of housekeeping. Rachel – the proprietor of this blog and your normal Challenge scorer extraordinaire – is busy this week bringing a new life into this world. Rachel and her husband Chris are planning on naming their child Nia, after the greatest role model in the history of The Challenge (ok, this sentence isn’t true). So I am her friend Mike, who will be filling in for her this week. Please go easy on me! Rachel will hopefully be back next week to fix any mistakes I make.
The episode is entitled “Bye Bye Love,” so I was hoping that the challenge would consist of the cast members performing as an Everly Brothers tribute band. Instead, the episode opens with Jordan consoling Sarah after she made the decision to throw Bananas and Nany into the last elimination round. Sarah cries (5 points to Gryffindor! Or to Sarah).
Everyone is staying at a hotel in Panama City for the night, and Nia proceeds to pull down Jordan’s pants. Typical hurricane behavior. Nia, Bananas, and Nany then take turns berating Sarah for her decision. Unfortunately, there are no points to award here. As Rachel has mentioned a few times over the course of the season, we do not award points when one person just yells at another person, but the second person does not fight back. And that is exactly what happened here, as Sarah did not engage with any of the aggressors. This is a problematic rule that the Rules Committee (or the two of us over gchat) plans to change in the offseason, but as of now I have to adhere to the rules. No points.
More importantly, I have to defend Sarah. As she said numerous times, it is a game. Bananas has pulled this kind of stuff before (anyone remember The Island where he and Kenny screwed over Paula right before the final?). I also do not understand Bananas’s argument that he would have been ok with Sarah’s decision if Sarah been straight with him. She didn’t have the opportunity to do so because she was put on the spot by T.J.! I have no doubt that Bananas would not have hesitated to do the same thing if he were put in that position.
At the same time, Leroy is pissed that Nia is yelling at Sarah when she should be focusing on the last elimination round. Nia is angry that Leroy is lecturing her, and Leroy responds that she performed worse than any other girl in the final regular challenge, which is why they were put into the elimination round in the first place. This encounter rises to the level of a verbal fight, as they yell at each other, albeit for a short time (5 verbal fighting points to both Nia and Leroy).
The cast soon finds out that they are going to Norway. Unfortunately Nany does not know where Norway is, so she better hope that there is no geography in the final challenge. Jay is excited because Norway has so many hot blondes, which he obviously is fond of. We know from The Real World: Ex-plosion that he is a master of getting phone numbers, so he will probably obtain some weird European phone numbers that he will never figure out how to actually call. Nia continues to criticize Sarah, so Sarah cries again (5 more crying points for Sarah, who is picking up the crying slack in Theresa’s absence).
The cast arrives in Norway and has a LOT of time to kill, so they all have a short fuse. For example, Bananas gets angry because Sarah effusively displays her affinity for Norwegian enjoys soup and wine (side note – what kind of wine were they drinking? Norway is not exactly a country known for its viticulture). Jenna states that she will not partake in the soup, because she hates seafood (could this be a Chekhov’s gun (or, more accurately, Chekhov’s seafood) moment? Will Jenna’s chances in the final be undone by her inability to ingest seafood?). They walk around Norway for a while (by the way, did they say what city they were in? I assume Oslo?), but it seemed pretty dreary. The producers didn’t exactly go out of their way to make Norway into a compelling destination.
That night, Hurricane Nia makes landfall. Jordan criticizes her for quitting, and she responds by telling him that he is gay and using some extremely offensive homophobic slurs. She then grabs his crotch area to make a point about his penis size (or something). Ugh. I am usually a fan of Nia but this is not cool at all. I guess I won’t be buying a Booty Belt! And I won’t be reading her book about hooking up with NBA players when/if it comes out (wait, who am I kidding? I will definitely read that book). To his credit, Jordan keeps his cool and does not retaliate. He argues that there should not be a double standard; because he is not allowed to touch Nia, she should not be able to touch him
Soon thereafter, T.J. shows up and asks Nia to pack her bags and come with him, without saying any more. The cast is confused, as they assume that it is part of the final challenge. I understand that the producers wanted to be coy about it, but I think they should have explained why Nia was leaving, so that everyone knew what she did and why it was wrong.
After Nia leaves, Bananas and Jay snip at each other after Bananas calls him an idiot. This doesn’t rise to the level of a verbal fight, as I think this was just – as Bananas put it – being “salty.” Jay believes that he played a better game than Bananas (I am not sure about that one), and Bananas condescendingly tells Jay that he should keep his mouth shut. These people need to get drunk and loosen up.
And get drunk they do! Well, some of them, anyway. Everyone goes out in Norway in the most depressing night of clubbing ever, Bananas and Leroy sit and dourly talk about the game. Nany takes a different strategy – shots! Nany and Jenna proceed to get completely hammered, to Bananas’s chagrin. By the way, drunk Nany is amazing. My love for Nany increased twentyfold as I listened to her drunkenly request random food items, including granola bars and Reese’s Pieces. #teamnany4life.
After some more sitting around, the cast is finally summoned to the final elimination round. T.J. explans that Nia acted inappropriately and had to be sent home (100 points for being kicked off to Nia). Again, I think there should have been some more explanation by T.J. of what she did. I do not need a PSA or an after-school special, but just something more, as I felt the producers treated her actions in a really cursory manner.
T.J. says that Leroy has to compete with a partner, but luckily Leroy has additional exes. My mind begins to race. I hope that they will bring in Naomi, who Leroy had an on-again, off-again relationship with on their season of The Real World: Las Vegas (and who was partners with Leroy in the first Battle of the Exes). Nope, it is…Theresa, back from the dead. Leroy and Theresa previously hooked up on Rivals II, but then had a messy falling out. Question for the Challenge historians out there – can you remember another instance where a Challenge participant was eliminated, but then was brought back to the show for some reason (besides the Battle of the Exiled twist this season)? The only other instance I could remember was way back on Battle of the Sexes in early 2003, when Dan was brought back after being eliminated when Puck quit the game.
We finally get the elimination challenge, entitled “X-Battle,” in which the players have to wrestle each other in order to obtain sole possession of a giant “x.” Wikipedia helpfully informs me that this challenge was previously used in the first Battle of the Exes. Bananas and Leroy go first, but Bananas quickly fractures his ribs. He nevertheless continues to compete, but Leroy is able to take the x. Nany and Theresa go next, which is the battle America has been waiting for the entire season. The match is extremely violent, including biting, kneeing, kicking, and slamming to the ground. Theresa pulls out the victory, sending Bananas and Nany home to the land of granola bars (25 elimination round points for Leroy and Zombie Theresa). Theresa then cries, for some reason (5 crying points for Theresa) – I did go back and forth as to whether or not she actually cried or was just verklempt, but she sniffles a lot and you could see tears in her eyes; I think that suffices for crying points. Theresa has definitely broken every crying record this season – I think she would probably cry while watching Meet the Press.
The cast goes back to their abode, and are later summoned by T.J. to begin the final challenge. T.J. tells some story about trolls, and explains that there will be various checkpoints (or trolls, I guess) where the cast members have to do something, along the way to climbing a giant mountain (of course). The final challenge begins with a helicopter ride, and we are off! To be continued in next week’s season finale (when your regular scorer will hopefully be back)…
Scoring for episode 11 is noted below:
A link to the Excel file is here: BOTE2 Scores – Ep11
Best player performance of the episode: Nia (105 points)
Worst player performance of the episode: Jenna, Nany, Jay, Bananas, and Jordan (0 points)