This week’s mostly boring, occasionally exciting episode demonstrates the limits of casting this particular group of veterans over and over again. This is only Big T’s fourth time competing on the show, but I can’t go another season hearing her give the same spiel in her confessionals about being underrated and needing to prove herself for the 500th time. I think I mostly wanted her and Logan’s relationship to work out so I could hear her talk about something other than sucking. If she were on Real Housewives, she would either be forced to find a new story line or get kicked off the show. I feel the same way about Nelson watching him argue with Devin during this episode. Like Jen Shah has shown us on Real Housewives of Salt Lake City, simply being a hothead without any other notable qualities (or federal charges) is extremely boring to watch!
In general, this episode suffers from a lack of things going on. There are a lot of produced conversations lacking real emotion, like, again, when Big T tells Logan that she has to really try now after receiving a second chance during the last elimination. Or when Devin is fake-mourning the loss of Josh. Or when Tori is demanding an apology from her “friend” Devin I’m not even sure she genuinely cares to receive. Or when T.J. throws them a yacht party that I guess they’re having fun at, but no more fun than a typical night out at the quarantine club. We find out that Kyle is Scottish and only 29 when he’s thrown a Scottish-themed birthday party. But even that is just some fancifully edited footage of people wearing plaid and standing around.
If there is a moment where I snap out of my sleepy, unamused trance, it is during this week’s straightforward but ultimately compelling challenge featuring a million dollars of fake cash that T.J. keeps trying to convince us is real. When the competitors arrive at their location, T.J. opens a giant safe containing piles and piles of cash, representing their prize money, to get them all excited for the soon-approaching final. After God knows how many seasons of this show boasting its “million-dollar” prize, I’ve lost all excitement about the money (1) because the first-place winner gets a “share” of a million dollars, not the full amount, and (2) I think the prize should’ve gone up after MTV got bought by CBS.
Anyway, for “Million Dollar Dash,” all the teams have to do is transfer their fake million dollars from their respective safes using duffel bags and stuff them into an SUV that looks like it’s about a half-mile away. On paper, this sounds kind of tedious, considering there’s hardly any strategy to it besides knowing how to properly fill a bag. However, this is probably the area that the Emerald Cell struggles in (despite having the self-proclaimed cerebral player on their team), considering how close Ruby and Sapphire come to beating them with fewer players.
There’s a moment where Big T, assigned with making room for the cash in the car, jumps in the wrong SUV, and everyone freaks out. I feel like this isn’t that crucial of a mistake in the scheme of things. But I feel bad for Big T, who, despite not being great, certainly put in the effort and inevitably gets shit on by her teammates no matter what she does.
The Emerald Cell beats Ruby, who would’ve only had to make one last trip to the safe, which I think is embarrassing. However, I am giddy at the possibility of Tori being on the chopping block after she pissed off Devin. I enjoy watching Tori sweat as someone who’s been put in this weird, untouchable position that I feel she hasn’t earned. It’s also nice to get a different side of Tori’s personality aside from that “Jennifer Lawrence on a red carpet” impression she constantly does.
Unfortunately, our suspense doesn’t last that long. The Emerald Cell chickens out and makes Big T the house vote. The thing about keeping Big T around is that she makes girls’ elimination days so fucking boring. This also means that Emy is automatically going to the Lair, too, as Big T would never pick Tori, although she claims she could beat her in a puzzle. Likewise, Emy gets mad at Emmanuel for not thinking about what voting for Big T would mean for her. I don’t think she’s really upset because she’s not screaming and crying like she typically does. I also don’t feel like we’ve really seen Emy and Emmanuel’s friendship displayed on the show and not just mentioned as an aside. Do they actually hang out or talk outside of just saying that they’re each other’s best friends in their confessionals? What do they have in common besides being Romanian??
So we head to the Lair, where things play out exactly the way we could’ve predicted right after deliberation. Big T calls down Emy, which, as we will see, is a mistake. To start, the women have to swim one lap through a pool filled with ice and work on a 3-D puzzle until T.J. blows a horn and they have to swim through the freezing water again. I find the ice-water element a little stupid because no one will quit an elimination over a brief swim through freezing water. It reminds me of last season’s final when the players had to dunk their heads in freezing water before going to sleep, as if anyone would’ve said no to that after a hellish day of running through freezing, wet temperatures.
CT, the puzzle king and Emy’s No. 1 ally (for now), is screaming at her from the sidelines, which seems like it’s tripping her up. She takes the puzzle apart a good ten times before she puts it together correctly, so I don’t think any credit can be given to CT for her victory. Big T goes home for the 100th time, and the other players pretend to care. And Emy, of course, heads back to Sapphire with her Uncle CT. See ya next week!