I’m not sure if the producers love or hate Josh. Maybe it’s a little bit of both, like most people who watch him on television. It’s revealed that the security breach we ended on last week means a double elimination, and now Josh, with the second-most house votes, has to come down to the sand and defend his skull. I honestly think the producers watched that footage of Josh sobbing because his “friends” saved him from being the house vote, thought, Man, this dude is delusional, and decided to do a double elimination as the cast was on their way to the Crater. It’s typical of the show to manipulate the eliminations for story purposes or just to fuck with people. So here we are!
CT couldn’t be more excited to take out The Goof and selects Darrell to compete against Devin. It seems silly not to try to get rid of someone who already has a skull, but all right. Maybe he and Darrell made some kind of deal that we missed. Either way, we’re in for some good television. The elimination is Dead Ringer a.k.a. the Peter Pan challenge, which I absolutely love. The alteration, this time, is that the contestants are higher in the air with the poles farther apart. And the pieces they’re knocking down on each pole belong to a tangram that they have to complete on the ground at the end of the challenge. Devin and CT are two self-proclaimed puzzle people, and Josh is, again, a goof. Darrell is a wild card because we mostly know him as a strength guy. This is basically my Super Bowl.
Darrell and Devin are up first, and they’re performing equally well the entire time. Devin would be such a fearsome competitor if he had more than two people that liked him at a time during a season. Darrell ends up finishing the tangram, or as he calls it, the “tangerine puzzle,” first, and Devin, a.k.a. Mr. Cerebral, becomes the new Goof. Next, it’s the event we’ve all been waiting for, although it starts off a little slow. Josh and CT initially are just as awkward and clumsy as you would expect two giant men to be while swinging in harnesses. Out of nowhere, CT starts leaping off his platform to his poles like Tarzan and knocks down all his pieces. Josh isn’t too far behind. But he’s getting frazzled and letting his feet hit the side of the platform instead of using it to run like you’re supposed to, and it’s driving me nuts! Josh ultimately can’t recuperate from the mini-panic attack he has watching CT advance to the puzzle before CT completes the tangram and wins. I have to rescind my questioning of CT’s puzzle skills from a previous recap because he basically puts every piece in correctly on the first try, and I’m amazed and hot for CT again.
Now, we get into the drama that drives the rest of the episode. You’d think Josh, taking yet another L, would be the most hurt person at this elimination. But CT decides to shit all over his partner Big T by swapping her out for Kam in the meanest way possible. There’s no, “I’m sorry, Big T, but …” No, “This is a really tough decision.” No, “It’s been fun working with you, Big T.” As soon as TJ asks CT if he plans to keep Big T, he starts shouting and jumping around like a madman, saying he’s been “waiting all season for Kam.” Big T’s mouth is agape, and so is mine. I don’t think anyone is surprised that CT swapped out Big T, including Big T herself, but the complete disregard he has for this very fragile woman’s feelings after gassing her up the entire season and winning several challenges with her is absolutely bonkers. Kyle is obviously incensed because going from Kam to Nany, whom he picks as his next partner, is like trading in a Ferrari for a Toyota Camry. Sorry, Nany, but it’s true. Cory, our eternal rogue agent, picks Gabby, which is a choice I weirdly have faith in. And Nam is pretty much handed Big T. If this woman’s confidence wasn’t already broken, spit on, and set on fire by CT, it’s now buried six feet underground after being picked last out of three people who aren’t even necessarily good competitors. What Big T goes through over the span of five minutes in this episode is now my worst nightmare. Darrell unsurprisingly decides to keep Amber B.
Back at the house, Nany’s in shambles because her best friend is gone. She says that working with Josh was the only reason she felt motivated and not the fact that she’s done this show for ten years and hasn’t won. I can’t! In the kitchen, Kyle is pissed and going at CT, who’s eating a giant tray of deli meat, for stealing Kam. At this point, I can’t tell if Kyle just liked the power that came with being Kam’s partner or if he’s in love with her. But I’ve never seen a Black, female competitor be this coveted in the 20-something years this show has been on, and I love it. In the rookie bedroom, Big T is crying about the CT situation. She says she feels like he completely betrayed her trust and that he made her feel like “trash.” I can’t say that I’ve felt much for Big T prior to this moment because her entire personality is that she’s extremely liked and pitied by everyone, and that’s not fun to watch. But watching her experience the mind-fuck of being everyone’s favorite person in the house but the most unwanted competitor was tough. Most of her disappointment seems hidden in the fact that she thought she would never be able to prove herself to CT no matter how well she performed.
The next day, our competitors are given a “fun day” at a hot spring. Are there any trampoline parks in this part of Iceland? A skating rink? A bowling alley? One of those art classes where you drink wine? For some reason, the producers think it would be fun to watch the cast stand around awkwardly in a giant hot spring with one sad chair holding a tray of champagne glasses. This has to be the end of the cold-weather locations. We can’t go on like this! Also, I feel like I’m being hard on Nany this episode, but I have to draw attention to her blue-and-yellow plaid bathing suit very briefly. I just can’t stand when skinny people with all the clothing options in the world wear hideous things. CT orders Big T a glass of champagne, which I’m pretty sure she could’ve gotten for free anyway. For a second, I thought she would readily accept this fake-man apology in the spirit of positivity, but she’s rightfully not having it.
At the house, CT starts a bonfire for his conversation with Big T that inevitably goes horribly wrong. Big T is sobbing and hiccuping and saying that all the security she felt in their relationship has been undermined because of the way he humiliated her in front of everyone. CT keeps defending the fact that he doesn’t want to run a final with her and goes out of his way to say she’s not ready. Big T simply wants him to apologize for the manner in which he swapped her out at the Crater. But CT, being a man, not only has to swerve around a legitimate apology but also leave Big T with some of the blame. He clearly wants this argument to end with her admitting that she sucks and affirming his decision to abandon her, but Big T is smarter and more emotionally intelligent than she puts on and decides to leave without any resolution. While talking to Gabby, she says from now on, the only person she has something to prove to is herself, not CT. What a character arc!
The editors try to counter all the negativity of this episode with a scene of Leroy and Kaycee discussing how they have no problems and make a great team. Boo! More negativity! Nam is anticipating a diagnosis of whatever’s going on with his back as they head into the next challenge. Of course, TJ tells him that he didn’t receive the medical clearance to stay in the competition and that he has to leave. I don’t know that we’ll see Nam again considering he didn’t make much of an impression besides being extremely cute. But I’m sad his experience was corrupted by a bad back AND Lolo Jones. Now Big T is a rogue agent, which is honestly the best thing that could’ve happened to her after a tough week and considering this miserable challenge.
This is probably the most theatrical mission we’ve had yet. It’s called Survive the Night and takes place inside a dark warehouse. The teams are handcuffed together and placed inside giant cages where they have to endure “torturous conditions” — not actually torture — and complete a series of tasks in the fastest amount of time to win. We get a glimpse at the first phase of these “torturous conditions” when a loud, screeching sound goes off inside the building, and everyone is freaking out. The lights are flashing for dramatic effect. I honestly think this escape room from hell will be the funniest challenge we’ve had all season, which says a lot considering we just watched Josh fail to grab a rope last week. I’m excited to watch everyone drink whatever mysterious liquid is on the tables in front of them and for Kam to inevitably win.