Sorry to invoke the ghost of Camila Nakagawa in this week’s recap, but I’m so happy we have someone to fill her short-tempered, emotionally fragile shoes and without the anti-Blackness! Good reality TV in a post-Bravo world is often measured by how much shadiness or plotting it contains. But nothing beats the pure entertainment value of a grown adult completely losing their shit without any sort of thought process or premeditation. And no one is more eager to remind us of this every time he appears on The Challenge than Big Brother 19 winner Josh Martinez. Thank you for your service, Josh. This episode was a hoot.
Before we dive in, some housekeeping: I somehow forgot to mention in my last recap that Kyle stole Kam from Josh, which meant Josh became Nany’s new partner. It’s hard to tell just how important these switches are considering that it’s early in the game, and they seem like they’ll happen frequently. What we do know, based on the first ten minutes of this episode, is that no matter who Kam is partnered with, she wears the pants!
When everyone returns to the house from the Crater, Kyle starts attacking Fessy for throwing him in. Fessy tells everyone in the room that he could see the house votes and knew Kyle lied about voting for Wes. This doesn’t stop Kyle from repeatedly calling him a pussy to the point where everyone watching looks extremely uncomfortable. There’s something about the way Kyle is pronouncing it with a hard P (and in a post-”WAP” world) that feels especially derogatory. Kam walks in on Kyle’s tirade and hits him with the African-American proverb “you’re not about to do all that.” Kyle abides in a way I’ve never seen a white man do on this show. Kam is remarkable.
Outside, CT and Big T discuss their new partnership, (Big CT, haha). We’re supposed to be amused by their odd-couple dynamic, but neither of them are that interesting. In another scene, Cory tells Fessy in a very composed, dadlike manner (because he’s a dad) that he’s disappointed he didn’t tell him about the not-so-secret-voting first. Cory seems to think him and Fessy are allies, which I thought as well. But Fessy dryly replies that he “doesn’t care” and that he’s here to win, which… all right, Fessy, we get it. So is everyone. But maybe don’t start pissing off your friends just yet? We’re on episode three!
Next we jump right into this week’s surprisingly brutal mission, titled “Road Kill,” for which the conceit is very simple. Two teams face off on top of a semi truck moving at 50 miles per hour. The goal is to push the opposing team off the side of the truck and into a giant net that’s hopefully secure because no one is wearing harnesses. The last person with both their feet on the truck wins. It was hard to follow everything that went on during this challenge because we’re watching two matches at once, guys against guys and girls against girls. Notably, Nicole and Devin go against Kam and Kyle, and Nicole ends up dislocating her shoulder. Before this, she says in her interview that she thinks she can beat Kam even though she’s “bigger” than her. Ugh. The white women on this show, like Maria Sharapova, are always pointing out when Black women are “bigger than them” even when the size difference is seemingly inconsequential. This is also an embarrassing set of last words before you get taken away in an ambulance.
Another notable matchup is Tori vs. Liv. Tori puts on that fake Black girl voice she always does in her interviews when she gets excited, which makes me bristle. I wouldn’t say that Tori absolutely destroys Liv, but she happens to flip her off the truck in a way that somehow hurts her arm, and the look on Liv’s face when it happens can best be compared to that painting “The Scream.” Off to the hospital she goes! Fessy and CT end up going against each other, which the other challengers are excited about. But they’re so evenly matched that nothing is really happening, and it ends up being a draw.
Leroy and Kaycee knock their opponents off the truck faster than anyone else and win the challenge. Everyone seems pretty content that they won, which makes me curious about how many allies they have combined. When the players return home, they notice that Nicole’s stuff is missing from her room because, as we see in gimmick-y spy footage, she gets sent home. Devin doesn’t know what will happen to him because whether this show has backup players or just sends partner-less people home varies every season. Nam tells Devin very earnestly that he must fight for Nicole now, to which Devin is like, I guess? Liv returns from the hospital and has to wait for her X-ray results to see if she has a fracture. She’s very chill about all of this. She tells her group of gal pals, Big T, Gabby and Amber B., that Tori isn’t as strong as she thought she was, which feels like foreshadowing.
Next up in this episode is Josh. I was trying to figure out if Josh should have a nickname whenever he goes bananas on someone, like the Camila-nator. But the exasperated tone with which everyone pronounces his name feels like it’s its own thing.
Everyone’s hanging out in the kitchen/dining room/living room when CT starts berating Kaycee about her use of the oven or the way she’s cooking her pizza or the fact that she’s taking too long to cook (I can’t tell exactly what he’s upset about). Regardless, he’s raising his voice and hovering over her in a manner that made me say, oh, no. Josh observes all of this and goes outside to where CT is smoking a cigarette and tells him he made Kaycee cry, which, unless it was cut out, he did not. It’s very important to note that the ground outside is wet from the rain, and Josh is barefoot. CT goes inside to ask Kaycee if she made her cry, to which she answers no. But Josh swears up and down that he never said Kaycee was crying, and he and CT get into a shouting match.
Devin, who thinks he has nothing to lose with his partner gone, decides to join in on the drama and shouts “Big Brother sucks!” in a way that made me holler. Whether he’s talking about the actual show, which I’ve always found unwatchable, or the former contestants in the house, most of whom I don’t really care for, I concur! Everyone pretty much laughs this off except for Josh, who somehow ends up outside trying to fight Devin. He’s still barefoot, which is driving me insane. It takes several security guards and Fessy and Kaycee and Jay to hold Josh back because he is that provoked. Meanwhile, Devin is smoking a cigarette and asking Josh to do basic math equations. Shooting this already farcical moment to the moon is a “So Emotional” by Whitney Houston needle drop. I’m so grateful for this music budget.
The next morning, Devin tells Wes that he thinks he’s going to be the house vote, which, duh. But Wes thinks he can gather enough soldiers to vote in Cory and Tori. At the deliberation, Devin tells everyone that they should vote for Cory and Tori, and Tori says, “F you!” Apparently, Tori and Devin have some history from being on a show called Second Chances where Devin beat her, but I feel like we’re going to see them make out pretty soon. Wes says he’s voting for them as well. Of course, Josh is still reeling from the night before and goes on a rant against Devin that feels like it lasts ten minutes. Josh doesn’t actually need to do this because Devin is an obvious pick due to his lone-ranger status. But Josh is all id with no superego. I think I said that right?
Most of the house votes for Devin except for Liv, Kyle, Nam, Wes, Natalie, and Devin, obviously. Watching Leroy and Kaycee try to absorb and analyze this information is hilarious. Kaycee swears she’s being purposely vague because she has a separate alliance with the Big Brother crew, but she also looks like she genuinely doesn’t know what’s happening. Before elimination, Wes tries to strike a deal with Leroy because he knows he’s getting sent in. Kam is present, of course, because her and Leroy make all their decisions together. Of course, none of Wes’ begging can save him from being thrown in because the man simply has nothing to offer at this point, and everyone knows it.
At the Crater, Leroy turns down the option to volunteer for elimination, and he sends in Wes. Kam seems to have some part in this decision, saying Leroy has to “look at the bigger picture.” I’m not sure what the bigger picture is besides getting a skull so you can go to the final, but I trust what they’re doing. Kaycee also votes for Wes.
Wes looks very upset once again, which is understandable. But I also need him to realize that he simply doesn’t have the numbers in this game to make it to a final without seeing an elimination. He also has to win an elimination to go to the final, so it doesn’t make sense to be totally dejected. He also claims that he’s known Leroy for 15 years, which is news to me.
Anyway, Wes and Devin are playing a game called “Snapping Point.” Attached to opposite ends of a rope, the two have to race through a series of posts in a zagzag and hit a red button to win. The rope isn’t long enough for both of them to reach the button at the same time, so inevitably it will become a game of tug of war. Wes and Devin are close friends, but Devin still seems extremely fired up. Wes is already making excuses about how hard it will be going up against his best buddy, so we know how this will end.
There’s honestly not much of competition because Devin stays ahead of Wes the entire time, and Wes looks like he’s not even trying? Typically when we see this game, the players are at a standstill for a significant amount of time. But I feel like this happened in under 2 minutes. TJ looks disappointed to tell Wes he’s going home, and Devin is ready to flip the house upside down. So he picks Tori as his new partner. She acts irritated in a way that seems exaggerated. And Cory is content with his new partner Natalie.
TJ ends the episode by reminding everyone that their ultimate goal is to get a gold skull, of which there are only seven (!!!) left. Just looking at the number of contestants remaining without a skull, we know this game is about to get real scrappy.