As I said in my last recap, the producers have truly been making things up as they go along this season in terms of rules and twists and “security breaches” and eliminations. Maybe they’ve always done that, and I’ve been less observant in years past. But as a self-proclaimed authority on The Challenge and your trusted recapper this season, it’s my job to point out that none of these messy puppeteers working behind the scenes know what heck they’re doing. For some reason, this week, we get another standard episode even though everyone has a skull. The vibe I get from the competitors is that they’ve had enough of this long-ass season and are ready to go home as much as I’m ready for it to be over. Likewise, there’s hardly any perceptible tension between the players, even though the final is presumably around the corner.
The only real drama this episode (if you can even call it that) is between Kaycee and Amber B., the latter of whom I’ve called boring 50 different times in 50 different ways over the course of this season. I’m sick of reiterating the same point. But the producers keep trying to make this woman happen, and it’s not just happening! Kaycee, too. I demand either humor, immaturity, or anger issues from my reality stars. The best have a combination of two or three (i.e., NeNe Leakes and Ramona Singer). Kaycee has zero of these qualities, and I don’t think we should normalize this lack of dysfunction and chaos on MTV of all networks. But that’s enough ranting. Let’s get into this painfully dull episode where I will assuredly rant some more!
We began as we always do with everyone returning from the Crater. CT congratulates Big T on her gold skull and assures her that he can build up her endurance in the week or two left they have before the final. He’s talking about building endurance like it’s a skill that needs to be taught and not just something that happens naturally if you go outside once a day and run. In another room, Kaycee and Amber B. are congratulating each other on making it this far. Can we please have one conversation on this show that doesn’t have to do with the game? Is there absolutely nothing else for these people to talk about? They hug, and Amber B. says something in her confessional about Kaycee having her back, which is obvious foreshadowing for some backstabbing later on. Every episode since Kyle lost Kam as his partner, he has to reiterate in his confessional how he’s practically a lone wolf with the exception of his new partner Amber B. and CT. The next morning, CT wakes Big T up at the crack of dawn to train for the final. This is obviously some kind of scripted comedy bit, like 90 percent of their interactions on this show. There’s a very basic “Eye of the Tiger” needle drop. I don’t care!
Next, we move on to our daily mission, called “Global Domination.” It’s a botched version of a challenge I typically love, in which the competitors are inside those giant bumper balls and play human soccer. This time, the balls are made out of metal instead of plastic. You see, blown-up plastic is fun and bouncy and makes for good physical comedy. These circular cages simply cause our competitors pain whenever they fall inside of them. The game is played with two teams on offense and two on defense. The goal is to roll as many targets as possible. Because there’s an odd number of teams, one a team gets to play offense twice and keep their best score. TJ announces that Leroy and Kaycee can pick the order of heats and who gets to play twice, so it’s obviously going to be them. The first round is Leroy & Kaycee, Fessy & Nany, and Big T & CT on offense, with Amber B. & Kyle and Kam & Cory on defense.
To start, the teams have to roll off of these ramps, which look so terrifying. Kaycee and Leroy immediately fall, and Kaycee is making these insane grunting noises. That’s the most I laughed during this challenge. There’s not that much contact between the balls, so we’re just watching everyone roll over bases that, of course, have unnecessary explosions. Also, there are several targets spread out across the ground rather than one at each end of the pit, so it looks relatively easy to roll over one even with another team trying to block you. We can barely see the expressions on the competitors’ faces. We don’t really hear the teammates communicating with each other. This mission is better in theory than it is in practice. But we do get some funny commentary from Nany, who’s trying not to be crushed by Fessy inside their cage.
Now it’s time for the next heat, and the teams swap positions except for Kaycee & Leroy. Fessy says that if he and Nany split their time evenly blocking the two offensive teams, they’ll automatically have a higher score than them. I’m not sure how he came up with this equation, but I immediately knew that it was wrong. At one point, CT & Big T are blocking Kam & Cory and Fessy & Nany are blocking Amber B. & Kyle, which allows Leroy & Kaycee to hit a bunch of targets without any interference. They win once again, which… you know how I feel about watching these two have power for the upteenth time. I do enjoy the way Leroy looks at Kaycee whenever they win, though. At this point, I think he loves this woman as much as he loves Kam.
Back at the house, Kam is nervous that she could possibly be the house vote considering that there’s primarily two alliances right now with four people eligible to vote on each side, and it could come down to a split vote. At the club, CT, Big T, Kyle, and Amber B. are reiterating this same idea. Yawn! We could honestly just watch this conversation happen inside the house on one of the couches. Having these game discussions under strobe lights doesn’t make them more interesting. Once they return from the club, there’s more dull game talk. Amber B. is trying to convince Kaycee not to vote for her because she let Kaycee get her skull when she was a double agent. But Kyle and Amber B. are the most obvious people to throw in, and Kaycee doesn’t believe that she owes Amber B. any favors this late in the game. She’s right. And Amber B. pressuring her doesn’t work because nothing about her is intimidating.
As expected, Amber B.’s hurt that she’s not a part of the Big Brother clique anymore. As much as I don’t care for Amber B. as a competitor, I can’t stand Fessy calling her “entitled” and saying that he and the other Big Brother cast members “carried” her to this stage of the game. It’s gonna be a rough reunion for this man, and I’m so excited. Meanwhile, Kyle has come up with a plan to get one of the other teams on the opposing side of the house to vote for another team besides him by having CT lie and say that he’s going to vote for Kyle at the deliberation. If this were a larger group of people, maybe this would work. But no one is taking chances this late in the game. And what does anyone have to lose by voting for Kyle whether or not they think the majority of the house is voting for him already? CT says they’ll pretend to have a “big fight” at the deliberation. But the performance falls extremely flat and ends with Kyle begging the house not to vote for him, which is how all of this would inevitably go down.
CT turns out to be the person who splits the vote when he votes for Kyle. The way this alliance between the two of them has played out is funnier than whatever skit they were supposed to put on at the deliberation. CT knows that Big T is the double agent vote and that they have a better chance competing against Kyle and Amber B. than Fessy and Nany in the Crater. CT actually admits to Kyle later on in the most nonchalant way, to which Kyle responds, “I should’ve voted for then.” Uh, yeah. You should have.
At the Crater, it turns out to be a women’s day, and the game is Hall Brawl. I can’t believe the female Hall Brawls this season have been wasted on the least aggressive women in the cast. Likewise, Amber B. and Big T hardly rough each other up. I was mainly distracted by Big T’s butt being exposed the entire time. Amber B. beats Big T in both rounds. Explosions go off. Woohoo. CT pretends to be upset that Big T is going home. Amber B. decides to infiltrate Fessy, as if this man needs his ego to be stroked any more in this game. He says in his confessional that he’s disappointed, but I’m not sure why he thinks Nany is a stronger competitor than Amber B. She admittedly doesn’t seem that fun to have a conversation with, but she’s definitely outperformed Nany, who hasn’t won a single weekly challenge this season. CT becomes the rogue agent, which means that he’s basically made it to the final, assuming they have one more elimination left. CT’s smirk followed by Kaycee saying “that was (expletive) stupid” is the best part of this episode. Nany goes back to Kyle, which is what she wanted. Kyle is pretending that he’s sick of Nany even though we all know he desperately needs a friend. I truly hope next week is the last we see of this goddamn Crater. See you then!